The History of Weapons and Warfare - Ancient Egypt

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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBUCATION DATA Nardo, Don, 1947-

Ancient Egypt p.

cm.

/

Don Nardo.

— (History of weapons and warfare)

Summary: Discusses the weapons used by the ancient Egyptians and means of warfare. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1-59018-066-6 (hardback 1.

Military art

and science

Juvenile literature.

3.

:

alk.

their different

paper)

— Egypt —Juvenile literature.

2.

Egypt— History, Military— Juvenile

Ancient— Juvenile literature. [1. Military Military. 3. Egypt— History— To 332 B.C.]

art I.

and science

Title.

II.

Military

weapons

literature.

— Egypt.

2.

4.

— Egypt

Military history,

Egypt— History,

Series.

U31 .N37 2003

355'.00932—dc21

2002000447

Printed

in

the United States of America

1

Contents Foreword

8

Introduction Fighting to Keep

10 the

Dark Forces

at

Bay

Chapter One Early Egyptian

15

Weapons and Warfare

Chapter Two The New Kingdom and

26 Chariot Warfare

Chapter Three

42

Military Service and Organization

Chapter Four

53

Borders, Fortifications, and Sieges

Chapter Five

65

Egypt's Military Zenith: The Battle of Kadesh

Chapter Six

76

Warships and the Defeat of the Sea Peoples

Epilogue

86

Decline of the Egyptian Military

Notes Glossary For Further Reading Major Works Consulted Additional Works Consulted Index Picture Credits About the Author

93 97 99 100 103 105 1

1

1

12

Foreword The

earliest battle

when Egyptian and Hittite em-

place in 1274 B.C. at Kadesh, in Syria, the armies of the

For

pires clashed.

torians devote a

war of which

the

this reason,

good deal of

know

Kadesh. Yet they

it

Even

about which any de-

information has survived took

tailed

modern

attention to

that this battle

was a

part

his-

and

were not the

with

Many

neighbors.

mentioned

religion,

the necessity of

war was widely accepted.

Most people saw

it

of defending

as the

most natural means

maintaining security,

territory,

or settling disputes.

A character in a dialogue

by the fourth-century B.C. Greek thinker Plato declares:

All

other earlier conflicts are

ancient inscriptions found

in

from the dawn of recorded history

states

ity,

.

.

For what is

every city

war with one

men in general

only a name; in reala natural state of

is in

war with every other, not indeed proclaimed by heralds, but everlast-

economic dominance. it is

are always at .

term peace

city-

fought one another for political or

Moreover,

men

another.

throughout the Near East and other regions,

likely that warfare long

ing.

.

.

.

No

possessions or institu-

predated city-states and written records.

tions are of any value to

Some

defeated in battle; for

scholars go so far as to suggest that

Cro-Magnons, the direct ancestors of modern humans, wiped out another early

human group



the

Neanderthals



in

the hands of the conquerors.

a

prolonged and fateful conflict in the dim

Even

past.

likely that

gaged

if this

did not happen,

it

is

even the earliest humans en-

in conflicts

and other

man

and battles over

factors.

"Warfare

is

terri-

stinct is king."

himself," writes

Considering the thousands of conflicts

have raged across the world since

that

Plato's time,

it

would seem

inevitable part of the

War not

almost

renowned military historian John Keegan, "and reaches into the most secret places of the human heart, places where self dissolves rational purpose, where pride reigns, where emotion is paramount, where inas old as

him who is the good

all

things of the conquered pass into

the

tory

"civilized,"

and organized

fought by the Egyptians and their

first

as

humans became

after

cities, writing,

ality, it

that

human

war

is

an

condition.

only remains an ever-present re-

has also had undeniably crucial and

human society and As Keegan puts it, "History lessons remind us that the states in which we live have come to us through conflict, of-

far-reaching effects on its

development.

.

.

.

ten of the the

most bloodthirsty

world's

first

and oldest

sort."

Indeed,

nation-state,

— Foreword Egypt, was born out of a war between the

An

two kingdoms

gence of two tendencies, fear of war

that originally

modern

area; the

occupied the

nations of Europe rose

and

from the wreckage of the sweeping barbar-

more information about the making of war in earlier times, not

and the United States was established

only in terms of tools, techniques,

by a bloody revolution between colonists

and

their

thirst for

and methods used

British

mother country.

from varying the

factors.

Sometimes

whom

wars are

and have been fought and how men

have

the side

possessed overwhelming numbers or

about

set

business

the

of

preparing for and fighting them.

most persistence won; other times supeand strategy played key

rior generalship roles. In

many

cases, the side with the

advanced and deadly weapons was

most

victori-

ous. In fact, the invention of increasingly

and devastating tools of war has

lethal

largely

Among

books

societies



it

has affected vari-

lie at

in Lucent's History

Warfare

series.

the core of the

of Weapons and

Each book examines

the

of

war

at the time, as

well as specifics

about weapons, strategies, battle forma-

were the composite bow, the war

tions, infantry, cavalry, sieges, naval tac-

and the stone

astating all before

made

his horse,

for

the major advances in an-

castle.

Another was

spearman marching forward as a

it

unit,

dev-

In medieval times, the

it.

on

easier for a rider to stay

increasing the effectiveness of

cavalry charges.

And

cannons, handguns, planes, missiles,

tics,

and the

Where

lives

leaders

military

and experiences of both

and ordinary descriptions

possible,

campaigns and lustrate

how

battles are

soldiers.

of actual

provided to

il-

came

to-

these various factors

gether and decided the fate of city, a nation,

a progression of late

or a people. Frequent quotations by con-



temporary participants or observers, as

medieval and modern weapons

made

human

ous

exploring the beliefs about and motivations

development

the

Greek phalanx, a mass of close-packed

stirrup

the evolution of warfare

new

cient times chariot,



warfare of a pivotal people or era in detail,

stimulating

tactics.

These themes

and weapons and how

driven the evolution of warfare,

counter-weapons, strategies, and battlefield

the

warfare, but

in

by

also of the people

Victory in these and other wars resulted

that

interest in the past, has seen a

Roman Em-

ian invasions that destroyed the pire;

inevitable result of the conver-

rifles,

including

submarines,

air-

and the atomic bomb

warfare deadlier than ever.

well as by noted ans,

modern

add depth and

ume

features

an

military histori-

authenticity.

extensive

Each

vol-

annotated

Each such technical advance made war more devastating and therefore more feared. And to some degree, people are drawn to and fascinated by what they fear, which accounts for the high level of interest in studies of warfare and the weapons used to wage it. Military historian John

bibliography to guide those readers inter-

Hackett writes:

man

ested in further research to the most important

and comprehensive works on warfare

in the

period in question.

The

series pro-

vides students and general readers with a useful

means of understanding what

grettably

is re-

one of the driving forces of hu-

history



violent

human

conflict.

Introduction

Keep the Dark Forces at Bay

Fighting to

Weapons

and warfare played an

role in the history



cient Egypt. Indeed, the Egyptian realm

world's

first

doms, making

integral

—was

true nation-state

the

B.C.,

two

distinct

kingdoms. And,

tle,

as the

doms evolved along the Nile River, one in the

Even

south (called Upper Egypt because

fare

lay

closer to the Nile's source), the other in the

north (Lower Egypt). These states

came

he also adopted

significantly,

the mace, a club used to

Egyptian king-

it

his capital;

crowns worn by the leaders of those

the

literally

forged on the anvil of war. During the fourth

millennium

it

a crown that combined the main features of

and culture of an-

tent

to-

symbol of the pharaoh 's

after the

and

in bat-

authority.

mace became obsolete in war-

many centuries

in official

he established

smash heads

later, its

image remained

artistic representations,

a po-

reminder that the Egyptian king was

gether into a single country by force, specifi-

ever ready to bludgeon his enemies into sub-

cally through the military efforts of a ruler of

mission.

southern kingdom. About 3100 B.C.

the

Menes (sometimes

called

quered the north and

made himself

first

pharaoh. (The term "pharaoh"

cient

Maintaining the Natural Cosmic Order

Narmer) conEgypt's

an an-

is

Surprisingly, considering this threatening,

Greek version of the even more ancient

Egyptian per-aa, meaning "great house." originally referred to the royal palace

was not used by

warlike

pharaohs, these rulers and their people did

and

not conceive of themselves as waging war in

the Egyptians themselves to

describe their kings until the era of the

Kingdom, which began around 1550

the

New

boundary between the former

the word. In fact, as

Sheikh 'Ibada al-Nubi, "Despite an

B.C.)

rival

modern sense of

pointed out by Middle Eastern scholar

To emphasize the importance of unity, Menes established a new city, Memphis, at the

image projected by the early

It

number of ways

to define the

infinite

'enemy' and a

multitude of terms for battle and fighting, the Egyptian language did not possess a sin-

king-

10

a

Fighting to Keep the Dark Forces at Bay gle precise term to define that particular le-

and economic

gal, political, social,

known

as 'war.'"

In this peculiar worldview,

operation

situation

any military

an Egyptian pharaoh deemed

necessary was a sort of police action

1

This odd state of affairs grew in large degree out of Egypt's unique geographical uation. Its population

punishment of

tion of foreign pests buzzing

sit-

was concentrated

borders

in

the narrow, fertile ribbon of land running



in either case the

around the

primary aim be-

ing to restore the natural order of things.

along the Nile's banks and for a long time

remained more or lated

and

less insulated

iso-

from the outside world by vast ex-

Among

other things,

this fostered a rather distorted

sense of self-

panses of arid desert.

importance.

From

the beginning of the era

ushered in by Menes, the Early Dynastic Period (ca. 3100-ca. 2686 B.C.) and likely dating well back into the Predynastic Period

5500-ca. 3100

(ca.

B.C.), the

Egyptians per-

ceived themselves as occupying the center

of creation. All had been chaos, they believed, until their

god Amun had sprung

existence and created the world's

into

first in-

habitable land in their midst. Thus, the natural

cosmic order revolved around them and

their

culture.

And

outsiders



those

who

on the "fringes" beyond Egypt's borwere hostile, backward, evil, cowders lived



ardly,

cosmic

and/or a perpetual threat to the order. This air of superiority is evi-

dent in a twenty-second-century B.C. kernel

of advice from an Egyptian ruler to his son:

[Behold] the miserable Asiatic; he

wretched because of the place he ter,

is

bare of wood,

its

is

UPPER EGYPT

[inferior]

paths are

/-\

wa-

[inhabiting]. Short of

not dwell in one place, [but

instead] food propels his legs

^Karnak

J' Thebes

many

and painful because of mountains.

He does



local rebels or an extermina-

Desert

(ZH

[i.e.,

Fertile

Land

he lives a nomadic existence, seen as

The Nile

inferior to the settled agricultural life 2 along the Nile].

11

It

Ancient Egypt But these expeditions were not part of

was not a full-fledged war, since that could be waged only against an opponent as

eas.

strong and worthy as Egypt; and to the early

were usually intended as punitive measures

an

Egyptians, this was an alien concept.

effort to create

an empire. Rather, they

against rebels or as justifiable restoring order

and safety

means of

to the country's

National Survival in a Hostile World

border regions. To the Egyptians, the very

As

safety of the borders because these barriers

integrity

a result, for a long time Egyptian rulers

of their nation depended on the

did not seriously consider the idea of con-

were

quering peoples and lands located beyond

from the dark, chaotic forces perceived as

Egypt's immediate vicinity.

Some

pharaohs

all that

separated their civilized bastion

lurking outside.

of the eras that modern scholars call the Old

With

the advent of the

New Kingdom (ca.

Kingdom (ca. 2686-ca. 2181 B.C.) and Middle Kingdom (ca. 2055-ca. 1650 B.C.) did

scale attacks

send troops into Nubia (the region lying

di-

nally

Egypt) and other nearby

ar-

borders and acquired an empire. Yet the

rectly south of

An

elegant relief dating from the

soldiers

1550-ca. 1069

New Kingdom shows

march carrying axes and throwing

sticks.

12

B.C.), in

response to large-

by foreign peoples, Egypt

expanded

its

interests

a religious procession

in

beyond

which Egyptian

fi-

its

Fighting to Keep the Dark Forces at Bay pharaohs did not impose direct rule on or send legions of territories in

settlers into the

an effort to

part of

Egypt proper. Instead, they exercised ence over these areas through

The main

treaties

influ-

and

object of battles and

conquest remained, as always, security

keep enemies from threatening the



to

tradi-

Egyptian heartland. Such enemies

tional

were, as al-Nubi puts

ment

al-

and vigorous trade

liances with local rulers relations.

The Kingdoms of Ancient Egypt

conquered

make them

it,

"a disturbing ele-

in the stable progress

of the Egyptian

world, and the king, as representative and official personification

of that world, was

obliged to keep them in check."' Inscriptions

commissioned by one

New Kingdom

pharaoh boast: His majesty has gone forth

whirlwind against them

like a

[his

ene-

mies], fighting on the battlefield like Sahara

The dread of him and the terror of him have entered into their bodies. They are capsized and overwhelmed where they are. Their heart a runner.

is

taken away, their soul

is

flown

away. Their weapons are scattered

upon

the sea.

an enraged

.

.

.

lion,

His majesty

is like

attacking his as-

sailant with his arms, plundering

his right left

hand.

hand and powerful on

on his

Old Kingdom

4

(ca.

2686-ca. 2181

B.C.)

Middle Kingdom

1650BC

(ca 2055-ca.

This and other similar rulers

tracts

by Egyptian

a

were intended as propaganda, of

New Kingdom (ca.

1550-ca 1069 BC)

course, and as such were often highly exag-

gerated. Yet they reflect an underlying truth,

great

namely, that during the roughly five-hundred-

their

New Kingdom, the Egyptian army was one of the most formidable in the world. To be sure, the Egyptians were not

chariot

year span of the

military

most

Egypt lacked

it,

they

borrowed

weapons, including the

and the special

sociated with

13

innovators;

effective

from

battlefield tactics astheir

in creativity,

enemies.

however,

it

What amply

Ancient Egypt made up

for in the large size

organization of

its

and

manpower. In

vival in a hostile world.

efficient

spite

By

the time the

first

of a long series of foreign armies managed

of

overwhelm Egypt in the first millennium it had lasted as an independent nation

lacking a

word for war, therefore, the Egypwaged it with great skill and success. And the quality of their military was a ma-

to

tians

B.C.,

jor factor in their extraordinarily long sur-

States has.

more than

14

ten times longer than the United

Chapter One

Early Egyptian

Weapons and Warfare Preparedness

As

for war, including the large-

weapons and the of troops, was an ever-

scale manufacture of

drafting

and training

a result, war was not a major theme

in sculptures, paintings,

royal and upper-class

and inscriptions

in

tombs and elsewhere.

present reality in Egypt even in the earliest

These records instead emphasized "other

Dynastic Pe-

important aspects of political and social

historical eras. Yet in the Early riod,

Old Kingdom, and Middle Kingdom,

together comprising the

first

life,"

the nation's existence, warfare

was not

scholar Andrea

M. Gnirs

points out,

"such as social and moral obligations, the

1,450 years of

exploration and exploitation of natural re-

the

Ma-

sources and trade contacts, the construction

jor military expeditions were not launched

of monumental tombs [among them the

top priority of the Egyptian government.

very often.

And when

two basic aims: The

they were, they had

first

was

to

great pyramids

guard and

maintain the country's borders against possible threats: the second

was

local

manpower, on or

slightly

Giza], or official

ca-

Middle Kingdom

?

and

an even greater degree in the age that

to

Only

later, in

the

it, would military expeditions and become the glorious centerpiece of

followed

to exploit natural

and

battles

beyond those

kingly

resources, including building materials

at

reers."

art

and propaganda

in

Egypt.

borders.

The main reason

for the relatively

Exploiting the "Wretched"

minor

Nubians

role of warfare, especially in the centuries be-

fore the

the

Middle Kingdom (which began near

end of the

third

millennium

B.C.),

In fact, military affairs

was

seem

to

have been

perceived as anything but glorious in the

Egypt's peculiar geographic situation. For a

Old Kingdom. Some evidence suggests

long time, the country remained largely iso-

both aristocratic

lated

from the outside world.

rial integrity

was not

And

manded

its territo-

individuals,

that

who com-

the national armies in battle,

and

ordinary Egyptians looked on soldiering as

seriously threatened.

15

.

Ancient Egypt

How Do

great Egyptologist

was endowed and maintained is recorded on the wall. Such wills and conveyances are, of

some of the major

course, invaluable cultural documents. Gradu-

In this excerpt from volume

Records of Egypt, the

late,

Breasted summarizes

3.H.

modem

sources that

1

of his Ancient

historians consult for in-

formation about political,

military,

and

ally

the nobles were inclined to add a few bi-

ographical details to the series of bare

cultural

Old Kingdom.

affairs during Egypt's

Know?

Historians

... In the Sixth Dynasty b.c] these biographies

That we

possess any documents at

from

all

the Old Kingdom

is chiefly due to the masmasonry tombs of that age, in which they were recorded. The exceptions are inscriptions on foreign soil and a few scanty

least of his

letters.

sist

almost exclusively of the name and many

.

.

.

The chief inscriptions

.

.

a

ice

was not a

native Egyptians

only

when

who joined

the

drafted into service

.

.

.

where they

[Many royal inscriptions and paint-

ings also adorned temple walls, but almost

all

examples from the Old Kingdom have] totally perished.

On the one hand, military servfull-time profession.

number of distant regions

still exist.

of the

"dirty work."

the

in

the aggres-

eign enterprises found record on the rocks in

owner of the tomb. Now and again the legal enactment by which the tomb

titles

... As

siveness of the pharaohs increased, their for-

con-

.

real narratives

most notable achievements

service of the Pharaoh.

accounts

and

became

of the career of the departed noble, or at

sive

fragments of papyrus containing

titles.

2345-ca. 2181

[ca.

ument, a high

army did so

in

of the court of an Old

official

Kingdom pharaoh,

Those few

Pepi

I,

tells

about his role

an expedition against some marauding no-

mads, the "Sand-Dwellers." The Egyptian

by the govern-

ment; they underwent some brief training,

army, he says, was largely

marched and fought

as ordered, then dis-

bians, for

banded and returned

to their

homes. More

whom

was

"I

made up of Nuone who made

the

the [military] plan." Later, the official claims:

importantly, the vast majority of soldiers

were mercenaries



His Majesty sent

foreign troops, mostly

from areas near Egypt's borders, who were

.

.

that

most

rebelled.

were exempted from

mili-

desert?]

It is

their places in the

... .

.

.

I

crossed over [the

with these troops.

I

made

a landing at the rear of the heights of

tary service in this era.

Taking

to lead this

the Sand-Dwellers, each time they

though not yet proven,

native Egyptians

me

five times, in order to repel

even

either hired or forced into service.

possible,

army

army ranks were

the

mountain range. ...

mainly Nubians, black Africans inhabiting

them

Nubia, the land lying along Egypt's southern

among them was

border. (The native Egyptians

all

I

and every backslider slain.

caught [rebel]

6

were them-

brown- or olive-skinned Semites,

like

Nubia was a prime source not only of

today's Arabs and Jews.) In a surviving doc-

soldiers for the early Egyptian army, but

selves

16

Early Egyptian Weapons and Warfare

Smashing and Chopping

also of valuable material products such as

Weapons

herds of cattle, ivory, and ostrich feathers.

Thus,

many

military

expeditions

Whether they were

were

native Egyptians,

Nu-

launched into the area during the Early Dy-

bians,

Old Kingdom, and Middle Kingdom. Numerous inscriptions describe the Nubians as vile, wretched, and easily

Egyptian armies used the same weapons.

nastic Period,

defeated. In fact, the

eventually feated

became

enemy

in

Egyptian

art

gen-

the

eras, the

primary weapons remained

main

and bow and arrow were

types.

Swords were sometimes used, but those

conscripted into the Egyptian military were

who

uncertain date far back in the Pre-

(club), ax, spear,

contempt by the Egyptians and often

the Libyans,

of early

few and almost unchanged. The mace

and royal in

soldiers

Dynastic, Old Kingdom, and Middle King-

dom

symbol of a de-

propaganda. Other foreigners held eral

From an

the

dynastic Period and on through the Early

image of the Nubian

the chief

or Libyans,

of the fourth and third millennia

inhabited the parched

B.C.

had a

desert lands lying along Egypt's western

serious limitation. "[They] could be fash-

border.

ioned only after [the attainment of] a mastery

These miniature soldiers represent Nubians, black Africans military service, especially in the

whom

Old and Middle Kingdoms.

17

the Egyptians often pressed into

Ancient Egypt iron oxide. Gradually,

began

copper mace-heads

to supplant the stone ones. Their

heads were most often either pear shaped or round, and the handle had a concave

(inwardly curved or tapered) gripping area

weapon from flying when he swung it. Clearly, the mace was an effective tool for crushing enemy skulls, hands, legs, and even spears and swords if swung with sufto help prevent the

out of the user's hand

ficient force.

For cutting and chopping, on the other hand, the battle-ax was

more

effective.

Ac-

cording to Ian Shaw, a noted archaeologist

and expert on Egyptian warfare: In the

Old and Middle Kingdoms

the

The image of the Egyptian pharaoh striking Nubian with a mace was

conventional ax usually consisted of

common

wooden handle by

in

Egyptian

head

a semicircular copper

the "wretched"

art.

tied to a

cords, threaded

through perforations [small holes] in

of the

art

the copper

of producing hard metals," explains

and wrapped around lugs

former Hebrew University scholar Yigael

[pegs].

"A long and tough blade which would not break or bend on impact could be made from hard metal alone." The problem was

difference between the battleax and

Yadin.

that copper, the only metal

weapons

Egypt

in

was

tively soft; so a long blade

swung

enough

the

the mace,

symbol of the king's sions had a head

made

earliest

which became

curved edge. 8

The

Such

cutting axes

ways.

A relief sculpture from the tomb of an

these

out of heavy stone, of-

hand

first

were used

in

various

wielding axes with shorter, deeper blades;

the ver-

authority.

to a

in

battlefield.

primary weapons, the

known was

down

official

backup weapon em-

ployed only occasionally on the

Middle

of the Old Kingdom at Deshasheh, Upper Egypt, shows soldiers using axes in battle. The ax heads are long and shallow, and the men swing the weapons with two hands. By contrast, a tomb painting dating from a century or so later shows soldiers

and used mainly for

an opponent. The sword was

to

therefore a secondary

Of

As

and when a soldier got close

if

ax. In the

little

in a slash-

swords were usually short and

straight, like daggers,

stabbing

narrowing

rela-

ing or hacking motion could easily break.

a result,

was

Kingdom, however, some battleaxes had longer blades with concave sides

used widely for

in this period,

this stage there

woodworker's

the

7

At

ten hematite, a blood-colored rock containing

weapons in

gate of an

18

are being

an effort to chop

enemy

swung with one the wooden

down

fortress.

Early Egyptian Weapons and Warfare

Bows

Shields, Spears, and

were sometimes attached

These early axes were not intended for

dier to carry

piercing armor, since the Egyptians did not

hands

employ body armor during

able

and

the fourth

Stone reliefs and tomb Old and Middle Kingdoms

third millennia B.C.

paintings of the

show

typically

longer linen

kilts.

on

to allow the sol-

his shoulder, leaving both

free. The latter situation was preferwhen on the march or when climbing a

scaling ladder during a siege.

The

soldiers wearing only belts

and small triangular loincloths or

it

shield provided a

measure of protec-

tion not only against close-up attacks

by

slightly

maces, axes, and swords, but also from bar-

Their only effective pro-

rages of missile weapons either thrown or

was the shield. The most common type was a rectangular wooden frame covered by layers of dried cowhide.

a type of javelin (throwing spear) that

Often such shields tapered to a curved or

the

pointed edge

so-called Hunters' Slate Palette, dating from

shot from a distance. First

tection, therefore,

at the top. In the

in

middle of the

common use

among

these

was was

throughout the Near East by

end of the fourth millennium

back of the framework was a wooden handle

this

to hold the shield, although leather straps

use against animals.

period in Egypt, shows the

B.C.

The

weapon

in

consisted of a long

It

Mesopotamia's Influence on Egypt In the era of the Old Kingdom, when Egypt rarely

engaged

wars and

in

its

precursor of the war chariot] in the van [forefront] of a troop of light infantry.

soldiers were

unseasoned nonprofessionals, far away on the plains of Mesopotamia (what is now Iraq) several aggressive city-states

had already

developed more advanced military methods.

centuries later adopted

from an

article in

Ancient World,

Mesopotamian

some of them.

John Hackett's Warfare

Dr.

B.C.

The heavy

a battle-ax in the right.

depicted

is

.

.

.

massed ranks of

[as]

men bearing

shields.

.

.

.

What

is

significant is

the number of spears projecting between the

the

Trevor Watkins describes a

shields.

The

artist

emphasizes the solidity of

mid-

the formation, protected from chin to ankle

carved on a marker stone.

by almost interlocking shields. The implied

battle formation of the

third millennium

in the left

hand and

helmeted spearmen behind a front rank of

Here, in

light

no shields; each holds a long spear infantry

who

These eventually influenced the Egyptians,

The

infantry wear no protective armor and carry

largely

battle tactics anticipate those of the [Greek]

The

Macedonian phalanx and the Roman legion.

battle-scene shows the army at the mo-

ment of

victory,

...

marching over the bodies

upper register

[band

himself;

shown

in

the

is

led

suggests that the armies of those

a

core of trained professional soldiery. No sea-

by the king

sonal levy of [local farmers] could have man-

of carved

troop of heavy infantry

It also

[Mesopotamian] city-states contained a hard

of their defeated and slain enemies. In the figures]

lower register the king

aged such precision and solidarity and these

is

soldiers

riding in his battle-wagon [a clumsy,

were

trained,

equipped to fight as

solid-wheeled cart pulled by four donkeys; a

19

uniformed

a corps.

and

Ancient Egypt wooden

staff

of

or copper secured to the shaft

flint

carvings, sculptures, and wall paintings, pro-

topped by a leaf-shaped blade

vide a fairly clear picture of the weapons that

by

cords tied around a long tang (narrow projection) protruding

from the blade's bottom.

In battle an attacking soldier likely

his javelin at the

enemy formation

however,

threw

tween the opposing

off the battlefield.

and engaged

dence.

effective for softening

up an enemy

cers.

weapon used by Egyptian hunters and

sol-

important in warfare in later eras. Early they

consisted of a pair of antelope horns con-

made of By the Early Dynas-

nected to either end of a central shaft strong but pliable wood. period, the stronger

"self" or "simple" ally

and more

bow was

in

wide

flexible

use.

Usu-

between three-and-a-half and seven

long,

it

was made of a wooden

feet

shaft that ta-

pered toward the ends and was strung with a cord

made of tightly twisted animal gut. Some

of the longer bows were "recurved," meaning that their shafts

curved inward, then outward,

and then inward again; these weapons, which

employed

tight

cord bindings to reinforce the

shaft at various points,

had greater power and

range than shorter, single-curved versions.

Little Evidence for Military Organization Surviving remnants of bows, spears, maces,

and so

forth,

realistic,

tomb dating

and remained

named because

And those that did serve as

These

The bow, another weapon shown was a common

diers in the Predynastic Period

tic

it

appears to tal-

become officommanders

miniature Egyptian soldiers

carrying spears and shields were found in a

in the Hunters' Slate Palette,

"horn" bows were so

existing evi-

for-

mation before the troops made physical conit.

on or

was a secondary

ented Egyptians would want to

farther

than javelins could be thrown, of course, and

with

or noth-

have been, few highborn, ambitious, and

Arrows could be shot a great deal

tact

from the

First, if soldiering

and unglamorous endeavor, as

in

hand-to-hand fighting.

were

little

But certain general conclu-

sions can be inferred

remaining gap be-

lines,

evidence reveals

command structure and organi-

zation of the early Egyptian army, either

at a dis-

he must have removed a mace or battle-ax his belt, closed the

this

ing about the

tance of about fifty to a hundred feet; then

from

Egyptians used. Unfortunately,

the early

along with depictions of them in

20

to the

Middle Kingdom.

Early Egyptian Weapons and Warfare

Egyptian soldiers of the Middle Kingdom period wore loincloths rather than armor.

probably did so on a temporary basis rather

tion in the

than pursuing military careers. Moreover, the

title

Old Kingdom, although

the

"overseer of soldiers" was occa-

and the

on

ordinary soldiers were also nonprofessionals

sionally used,

who served short hitches: so there would have

Egypt's borders were controlled by

been

the "overseer of desert blockhouses

little

time for extensive training or effec-

tive organization into

many and complex

and royal

spe-

likely, therefore, that the early

was

Egypt-

army was organized along relatively simple lines, with a few commanders lead-

the only

term

word used to describe Old Kingdom.''

The importance of

ing large troop contingents of no fixed size. to

(a

units of soldiers in the

ian

According

Tst

roughly corresponding to "battalion")

cialized units. It is

fortresses."

fortresses

Shaw:

tary affairs increased to

soldiering and mili-

some degree during

the First Intermediate Period (ca. 2181-ca.

There does not appear any overall

military'

to

2055

have been

B.C.).

During the short interlude be-

tween the Old and Middle Kingdoms,

hierarchy [ladder

of positions of authority] or organiza-

royal authority in

21

Memphis

the

declined and the

Ancient Egypt

Single Combat in the

Middle Kingdom During the

Intermediate Period and

First

During the night

arrows

one-on-one duels reminiscent of the single combats between Greek and Trojan war-

fought

riors in

ished

in

poem

Homer's epic

from the famous story of the Egyptian James Pritchard's Ancient Near Eastern Texts,) , dating from the courtier Sinuhe (quoted in

.

describes such a

duel.

mighty man of Retenu he might challenge

[Syria]

me

He was a hero without [beaten all opponents in

in

came, that

my own camp.

peer,

He

said

more than a

who

still

retained

some

.

was

Military

watch the

.

I

.

I

.

began

to

army were be-

still

a few centuries away.

Developments

the First Intermediate Period

ranks

.

.

.

a

case the warlords

"'

tect the territories

Out of

was



the



man-

in

this

portrayed (or allowed

subordinates to portray) their battlefield ex-

operating in and

ploits.

on the behalf of Egypt, but without losing their character."

in military affairs during

ner in which individual leaders

and, in Sheikh 'Ibada al-Nubi's words, "a

genuine ethnic nucleus

in the

Middle Kingdom Another change

in the military

.

be praised in various

evidence shows

dominating presence

.

under arms for

were under arms still

.

.

did to him.

First,

than in prior centuries; Nubians were

.

.

.

native Egyptians

changes.

.

ginning to take shape, although that turn of events

more

as

for a full-time professional

warlords were probably not significantly

stitutional

pol-

men

.

writings. Clearly, the elements necessary

more organized than the state-controlled army of the Old Kingdom. However, the new climate of violence did cause some inthat

I

broke, [the

alike often served

their exploits

allegiance

wars, the armies of the

civil

.

extended periods. Furthermore, soldiers and

in the north.

During these

and

.

.

Nubians

century, powerful local

warlords fought one another, as well as the pharaoh.

.

[to

me

had planned to do to me,

country became unstable and disunited. For little

Retenu came

.

that he would fight me, he intended to despoil

a

[in a practice session]

.

.

and he had

his land].

strung

my weapons. When day

he came to

cerpt

A

I

fight]. Then was waiting. Every heart burned for me; women and men groaned. Then he took his shield and his battleax and his armful of javelins. Now after I had let his weapons issue forth [without doing me any damage] ... he charged me and I shot him, my arrow sticking in his neck. He cried out and fell on his nose. I [finished him off] with his own battleax and raised my cry of victory while every Asiatic roared. Then I carried off his goods and plundered his cattle. What he of]

the Iliad. This ex-

dawn of the Middle Kingdom,

my cattle. my bow and shot my

me, and he planned to plunder

Middle Kingdom, a number of standard pitched battles apparently took place. But soldiers also

They proudly celebrated

ries in inscriptions,

necessity, to pro-

others.

on

of their masters (whether

warlords or the pharaoh), Egyptians and

The pharaohs subsequently when they regained

this practice

of the country

22

their victo-

each trying to outdo the

at the

carried

control

beginning of the Mid-

"

.

Early Egyptian Weapons and Warfare Kingdom, each king attempting to projimage of an invincible hero.

die

depictions of soldiers fighting battles be-

came more common

ect the public

Kingdom

Describing the second Middle

pharaoh cial

—Senusret

named Sinuhe

(or Sesotris)

I

—an

in

artwork commis-

sioned by the pharaohs.

The weapons wielded by these soldiers in Middle Kingdom were largely the same

offi-

wrote:

the

as those of the Early Dynastic Period and

He is

champion who

a

Kingdom. The most common and

He own

a god indeed, without peer.

is

acts with his

long-range

still

the simple bow.

arms, a fighter without anyone like

(The more advanced and deadly composite

else] when he bowmen. ... He

bow was already in use in Mesopotamia, what is now Iraq, at this time: but it was diffi-

him

no one

like

[i.e.,

is

seen attacking the

is

one

less,

who so

muster

.

.

.

renders hands power-

that

their ranks.

He

when he annihilates the He is stalwart of heart

steps

.

.

third

.

strike a

A

.

second blow], for there his

arrow

nor one who can draw

his bow. The

bowmen

him

retreat before

as

if

be-

fore the might of a great goddess.

In

addition to the pharaoh's enhanced

image as a military

leader, the military es-

tablishment as a whole took on increased

importance

in

Middle Kingdom. For

the

one thing, the army, when called into serv-

was bigger than

clearly,

it

had been

in the past;

maintaining the allegiance of more

men. both native Egyptians and Nubians.

was a

logical

way

to

overshadow and

courage any local princes or warlords

make and

short

B.C.

did not gain

until after the

Mid-

sword with a curved,

appeared

millennium

It

in

Egypt

in the late

was designed

sculpted likeness of the Middle

pharaoh Senusret

not repeat the act of killing

no one who can deflect

A

to

Egypt

in

for

.

and does

.

not allow cowardice around him.

[i.e.,

.

Kingdom.)

sicklelike blade

wide

fugitive.

.

is

dle

and no one

He

and expensive

widespread use

vengeful

is

skulls,

stands up near him.

He need

cult

enemies cannot

his

when he cracks

ice,

weapon was

Old

effective

dis-

who

might consider challenging the central au-

The government also increased the number of forts along the borders, still seen

thority.

as all-important harriers against the forces

of chaos and barbarism beyond. Moreover,

23

I,

whom

Kingdom

Sinhue described.

Ancient Egypt slashing rather than stabbing; but

breakable blade

easily

straight stabbing

swords

made still

its

in use,

were already organized

small,

like

it,

which marched

the

in

weaponry

in the



Middle Kingdom

was a new

battle-ax

duced

Egypt from Palestine and

into

the tangs

the units taking part in battle,

Syria.

which

was open combat Thus we find several documents from the

indicate that there

the "epsilon ax," intro-

had a short blade with three tangs

units

The written records also contain much detail on the size of armies and

a sec-

ondary weapon. The only significant devel-

opment

in

in disciplined order.

on a

It

large scale.

references in

in the back;

had holes through which cords

.

.

.

18th century [B.C.] to militia units of

passed to fasten the ax head to the long han-

10,000 warriors. Mostly, of course,

dle.

the units referred to are smaller, con-

Thanks

to increased depictions of war-

fare in written records

Kingdom,

somewhat

ages.

art in the

the military units

of the soldiers are

and

who wielded

taining 3,000, 2,000, 1,000, 600,

Middle

100 men. Also mentioned

man

unit,

weapons

unit,

comprising three companies of

100

men

these

clearer than those in prior

The Middle Kingdom soldiers depicted

and

and

the 300-

and formations

Middle Kingdom armies, says Yadin,

battle-axes,

is

in this

used mainly as an assault

each.

documents

It

appears from the

that the basic

unit,

the

drawing are armed with traditional spears, maces,

shields.

24

Early Egyptian Weapons and Warfare modwas probably

about 1650 B.C. they rose up and

section [perhaps equivalent to a

that in

ern army platoon],

took over the northern section of Egypt by

composed of ten men.

|:

force

(while

power base

the

pharaohs maintained a

in the south,

with their capital

at

Thebes). This marked the end of the Middle

Nightmare Becomes Reality

Kingdom and beginning of

The

termediate Period (ca. 1650-ca. 1550

soldiers in these units

were

still

largely

Nubians, Libyans, and other foreigners either hailed

allowed to

who

Modern

settle inside

Egypt proper. One

writers, the

of these groups was composed of "Asiatics," that is,

lands lying northeast of Egypt. in the region last

two centuries of

fighters

recruited

for





Middle Kingdom

and military

name

"rulers of foreign lands."

attack of "barbarians"

to play a pivotal role in

the country's political

ethnic

the

given to them by Greek

The Egyptians' worst nightmare the from beyond the borders had become a terrifying and hu-

settled

of the eastern Nile Delta in the

and were destined

As

They

later

Hyksos, or "shepherd kings,"

although the ancient Egyptian

them meant

people from Palestine and other

In-

B.C.).

scholars refer to these interlopers

by the name

from border areas or had been

Second

the

miliating reality.

Eventually,

affairs.

would

into

but in the process they would

the

rally

and take back

the

natives

their lost lands,

become even

Egyptian army, these Asiatic immigrants

more warlike than

must have gained considerable numbers

great age of empire and military glory

and military strength over time. The proof is

about to begin.

25

the

Hyksos. Egypt's

was



Chapter Two

The New Kingdom and Chariot Warfare The

Egyptians managed to drive the hated

Hyksos out of Egypt by

scarred and their outlook on

world forever changed.

the mid-sixteenth

and the

life

was a

First, there

and patriotism

century B.C. But the humiliating century-long

major upsurge

occupation of the country had

during and immediately following the expul-

left its

people

in nationalism

sion of the Hyksos.

pharaoh of the New Kingdom, liberated Egypt from the Hyksos.

Ahmose,

first

Kamose,

the Seventeenth Dynasty,

Amosis),

which

first

—waged

New Kingdom

numerous campaigns

as part of a

tional liberation; they

and

rected

pharaoh of

of the Eighteenth

ruler

initiated the

last

and Ahmose (or

war of na-

their followers di-

wrath not only against the

their

Hyksos, but also against those Egyptians

who had

collaborated with the occupiers.

Thus, by eliminating competing local factions, the conflict

fect

had a strong unifying

on the nation and

its

ef-

inhabitants.

There was also a new and disturbing perception that the country's borders were not

and may never be

totally secure.

So

the

Egyptians had to do more than simply guard the borders; they cial barriers

must go past these

artifi-

and confront any enemies

posed a potential

threat,

that

thereby expanding

Egypt's sphere of influence into neighboring lands.

26

As

a result, Egypt

became a ma-

The New Kingdom and Chariot Warfare jor military state, and imperialism, one na-

attempted military

tion's

stronghold of Avaris, in the eastern section of

and/or political

A

the Nile Delta.

paign has survived

feature of the government of the New Kingdom. Another defining feature was a new kind of warfare employed by Egypt's rulers,

that of his king,

around the

one largely

built

ironically a

weapon introduced

their

to

them by series of

new army made Egypt both

Near

showed valor on foot before his I was appointed [to be

I

majesty; then

of the

captain

re-

Memphis.

East.

in

the

Then

I

...

canal:

[I]

Shining-in-

ship]

fought on the water

Pezedku of Avaris.

fought hand to hand, [and]

Expanding Egypt's Sphere

brought away a hand. [Egyptian

of Influence

diers often cut off the

This

new

gression began with

Ahmose, who

the country. After driving north

the

hands of

I

sol-

slain

was reported to the royal herald. [The commander] gave to me the Gold of Valor [a medal for bravery] Then

and policy of military ag-

spirit

like

sieged the city of Avaris," the lesser Ahmose

spected and feared across large portions of the

name,

was Ahmose. "[We] be-

bragged.

aggressive warrior kings, an invigorated and

powerful

in the

the captain of a Nile vessel. His

battle chariot,

enemy, the Hyksos. Led by a

camtomb biography of

brief record of this

domination of others, became a defining

enemies as

liberated

from Thebes,

pharaoh besieged the main Hyksos

battle trophies.]

It

Hyksos' Contributions to Egypt In this excerpt from his acclaimed History of

in

Ancient Egypt, scholar Nicolas Grimal identifies the Hyksos and

comments on

Egypt was evidently less damaging than

later

Egyptian

military contributions to the Egyptians.

were the Hyksos? Their name

is

the

name

applied to

all

.

.

The Hyksos

It

mark on Egypt-

was

far

rulers created a

New Kingdom pharaohs

logical innovations of the

gives no indication of race

or any clearly defined homeland. It

its

would eventually draw inspiration. The techno-

hekaw-khasut ("the chiefs of foreign

lands"). This

.

legacy from which the

debased Greek version of the Egyptian term:

tend to suggest.

ian civilization, which from then on less insular.

Who

sources

must, however, have made

their significant

Hyksos period were

innumerable, particularly in the

was a term

fare,

foreigners in Nubia and Syria-

field of

war-

which was revolutionized by the intro-

duction of the harnessed horse [especially as

Palestine during the Old and Middle Kingdoms.

used to draw the chariot].

The Hyksos seem to have approximated the

were also introduced to innovative items of

"Asiatic" peoples

[i.e.,

some

ples of Syria-Palestine]

.

.

The Egyptians

armor created with new techniques of bronze-

of the local peo-

whom

.

the Egyptians

working,

which would eventually allow the

New Kingdom pharaohs

had previously fought. ... The Hyksos presence

27

to expand eastwards.

Ancient Egypt there

was again

place;

I

there;

fighting

in

I

brought away

hand. [And

I

captured Avaris;

I

.

.

gave them

to

[persons];

me

.

[Egypt]," says scholar

Ahmose He was

enemy might

well try

knowledged

in a

called Sharuhen

it

laid siege to

Healy,

later

his ejection of the

Ahmose was

as overlord

by

ac-

the states

of Palestine and Syria, no doubt en-

the Sinai Penin-

and into Palestine. There, he trapped

most of the remaining Hyksos

By

of the Hyksos,

tle

and launch a counteroffensive.

and

in

Hyksos from Egypt he had elevated the kingdom to become the greatest in the Near East. Inheriting the man-

doubtful that this would ensure the coun-

sula

was

generations in having established the

drove the Hyksos out of Egypt.

So he pursued them across

Mark

Ahmose was honored by

that

18th Dynasty.

try's safety, since the

at-

old whipping horse, Nubia, and

of

I3

After taking Avaris, the pharaoh

to regroup

re-

recognition of his achievement in reuniting

majesty

his

for slaves.

total

its

finished reuniting the nation. "It

[We]

took captive there

one man and three women, a four heads

tack on

Gold of

received] the

Ahmose

victorious,

turned to Egypt, launched a successful

[another]

Valor in the second place.

Emerging

years.

this

again fought hand to hand

couraged in

town

their declarations

by a

military demonstration later in his

reign that took

for three

him

as far north as

Djahy [Phoenicia, on the coast of Egyptians of the New Kingdom continued to exploit Nubians, depicted in this relief.

what

is

now

that there all

Asia as

now

Israel]. It is

was a

tacit

far as the

very likely

acceptance that

Euphrates [River]

constituted

rightly

Egypt's

sphere of influence. The projection of military

power

beyond Egypt's

far

eastern frontier as the best and most effective

method

for

her defense

now became a keystone of her policy in dealing

Palestine].

Indeed, his reign

with the [region of Syria14

Ahmose set a precedent, and after new pharaoh was ready and ea-

each

ger to prove himself in war. This not only

made

the country safer, but also greatly en-

hanced the king's

official

image as portrayed

in royal decrees, building inscriptions, paintings,

and other modes of propaganda. In

Egypt's earliest years, the pharaoh had been

viewed

28

literally as a

god

in earthly form.

But

"

The New Kingdom and Chariot Warfare by the advent of the

him

as a

New Kingdom, most saw

mere man, very powerful and

per-

haps divinely inspired, but mortal nonetheless.

Waging and winning wars was a way of

elevating the pharaoh's image; as an invinci-

war hero and

ble

national savior, he could be

confident of maintaining the allegiance of his people.

Each new pharaoh therefore strove to more military expeditions into

lead one or

exam-

Syria-Palestine. Nubia, or both. For

an inscription found

ple,

Tombos

at

(near

NuThutmo-

the Nile's Third Cataract) describes a

bian campaign by Thutmose sis

I,

reigned 1504-1492

He

(or

I

B.C.):

has overthrown the chief of the

Nubians; the black

man

defenseless in his grasp.

bian

troglodytes

than

.

The Nu-

insult

description]

literal

.

[primitive

standard

a

dwellers,

helpless,

is .

fall

Pharaoh Thutmose

cave

I,

seen here, invaded both

Nubia and Syria-Palestine.

rather

by the

sword, and are thrust aside in their

A New Weapon and Status

lands; their foulness u valleys.

Perhaps the most significant reference

.

.

.

Symbol

floods their

—the Chariot

preceding account

same ruler invaded Syria-Palestine, by one of his officers:

on the

is

in the

that to the capture

The

of a

Later the

chariot

as told

Egyptians could not have ejected the Hyksos

battlefield.

fact is that the

and successfully invaded Syria-Palestine

made

His majesty

among them. Numberless were living prisoners,

which

his

brought off from his

Meanwhile

I

was

I

the

chariot

victories.

its

new weapon. The

in battle in

Mesopo-

introduction into Egypt. Chariot technol-

ogy eventually made

head of our

at the

had been used

tamia for more than a thousand years before

majesty

troops, and his majesty beheld

bravery.

without this formidable

a great slaughter

my

Palestine,

its

way

into Syria-

where the Hyksos acquired

it.

They then brought it into northern Egypt, and eventually the pharaohs at Thebes adopted it out of necessity. Used in conjunc-

brought off captured] a |

its horses, and him who was upon it as a living prisoner, and took them to his majesty. (As a reward I received] gold in double

chariot,

tion

with another advanced

composite bow. as well as

measure.

elements, the chariot

29

weapon, the

traditional niililaiy

became a devastating

Ancient Egypt

A

Soldier in the Pharaoh's Service Much of the sparse contemporary informaabout Egypt's war to

tion that has survived

had

tomb biography of a naval officer named Ahmose, the namesake of the pharaoh who led the campaign against

pel the Hyksos comes from the

the intruders. Here, lation (in Texts,),

James

from John

Ahmose

describes his

dier in a

now

distant

and

were very expensive

still

woman

.

like

Thus

Ahmose

I]

.

.

when

.

had set up a household, then

I

I

was

was

I

af-

was taken

I

valiant.

used to accompany the Pharaoh ... on

and

in the

Egypt. (Chari-

meters

[4.1

long,

its

is

is

... The

feet].

wheels had four spokes. chariot pole

.

.

.

The

2.5 meters [8.2 feet]

hind end attached to the rear

Egyptian char-

bar of the body frame and running

used in

under the body, giving additional

virtually identical to those

They were very lightweight yet sturdy. Describing a surviving example from the era of Thutmose I and his immedi-

strength to an otherwise frail struc-

Syria-Palestine.

ture.

.

The yoke

.

.

double-convex

Yadin writes:

ate successors, Yigael

length between the wheels

its

1.23

produce and main-

to

surprisingly, the first

is

shaped

bow and

is

like a

attached

forward end of the pole by

to the

Everything was planned to

nails.

.

This chariot has three main ele-

make

the vehicle light, flexible, and

ments: the body, the wheels, and the

strong.

pole and yoke. The body

wooden frame ter [3.3 feet]

deep.

.

Ro-

had taken a wife. ... But

I

on the ship Northern, because

to a sol-

largely forgotten

so only large, wealthy states could afford

were

[i.e.,

a boy, before

ter I

chariot corps with thousands of vehicles.)

iots

of the

[in .

served as [a] soldier in his place in

I

the Two lands

own background,

and national policy

hands of major kingdoms

Not

father being a soldier

foot, following his excursions in his chariot.

tool of warfare

tain,

my

name being Bebe, the son

onet. Then

conflict.

ots

upbringing in the town of el-Kab

the ship The Wild Bull in the time of the Lord of

A. Wilson's trans-

human face

giving a recognizable

his

Ancient Near Eastern

Pritchard's

my

I Upper Egypt],

ex-

It is

.

17

has a

one me-

In the century that followed, Egyptian char-

wide and half a meter

iots underwent a few modifications. To accommodate more weapons and equipment, their frames became slightly heavier; and the number of wheel spokes increased to

Its

base

is

75 centimeters [29 inches]

high in the front

— which

would

cover about half way up to the thighs of the charioteer.

.

.

.

The whole of

six,

the front and the bottom part of the

allowing the wheels to better support

The vehicles also became more maneuverable, for their ability to turn as sharply as possible was key to their sucthe extra weight.

body were [covered by The axel-rod is 6 centime-

sides of the leather].

.

ters [2.4 inches] thick at the center

cess in battle.

30

The New Kingdom and Chariot Warfare Because such chariots were very expensive

charioteer

an overall

became highly coveted. Part of transformation of the army into a

prestigious profession, this

had a

Andrea Gnirs puts

prestige

and

into upper-class symbols. ...

As

military

[social]

founded on a new

it:

Purely military careers were possi-

and became increasingly

quent, especially

in

the chariotry;

The so-called Stele ofAni, a charioteer

and

identity.

relief dating

spect.

from around 1550

his driver.

31

.

.

.

Now

sufficed

dier

fre-

to

1

to

class set

A new

emerged,

of social val-

new model of common

ues and a

ble

[equivalent]

status; as a result, origi-

military attributes developed

nally

signifi-

cant effect on Egyptian society as well.

war and possession

participation in

of a chariot were

and specialized weapons, the rank of

to

[just]

elicit

being a solpublic

re-

"

1086

B.C.,

shows an Egyptian

Ancient Egypt Some ries

successful charioteers

of their adventures.

such a pyrus

tale,

now

left

An

behind

on a fourteenth-century

in the British

your ensign [personal emblem or

sto-

excerpt from

Museum,

symbol], engraved with a chisel, and they put a handle on your whip and

B.C. pa-

attach a lash to

describes

it.

[Then] you sally

a warrior taking his vehicle to a special

forth quickly to fight

workshop

plish glorious deeds.

They

for repairs:

wheels

Your pole

is

are]

freshly

attachments are

no longer

.

and accom-

fitted on.

they fix up your yoke. relief dating

The Deadly Composite Bow

loose.

trimmed and

The

its

They put

bindings on your collar piece

chariot.

.

9

take care of your chariot so

that [the

A

.

'

.

.

.

The role the chariot played in warfare in this age was that of a mobile platform from

and

They apply

from around 1403

The long object attached

to

1365

charioteer did not "sally forth" on his

vehicle into battle emptyhanded, of course.

B.C.

to the side

shows

the

pharaoh Amenophis

of the vehicle

32

is

his

bow

case.

111 driving his

The New Kingdom and Chariot Warfare

A pharaoh fires

his composite

bow

while attacking an

combination of chariot and composite

bow

enemy

in this idealized

drawing. The

revolutionized warfare.

which a warrior could use various weapons

of wood, each having a certain desired

damage on enemy lines. Chief among these chariot-borne weapons was the composite bow, which entered gen-

bility

to inflict serious

eral use in

Egypt along with the chariot

the start of the

fashion.

ate a

bow

The harder animal hom was used in more rigidity; and the

to increase

The

its

result

arrow up

the bright idea of

combining various separate materials

plia-

planned

sinews were applied to the back of the

at

New Kingdom.

someone had gotten

in a carefully

spots that needed

Centuries before, probably in Mesopotamia,

and combined

bow

propulsive (springing) power.

was a bow

to six or

that

could

fire

seven hundred yards

an

(i.e.,

six or seven times the length of a football

to cre-

of greater elasticity and power

field!),

though any

sort

of accuracy could be

than the age-old simple version.

maintained only up to about three hundred

main materials

The four such a weapon were

yards.

wood, animal hom, animal tendons (sinew),

formance of an ordinary bow. Composite

and glue. Even the wooden portions might

bows

be composed of two, three, or four varieties

expense

in

33

Still, this

was

far superior to the per-

required considerable expertise and to

make and much

practice to use

Ancient Egypt

Rebuilding in the Wake of the Hyksos One of the highlights of the immediate post-Hyksos era of the New Kingdom was the of a strong, ambitious woman, HatshepDaughter of Pharaoh Thutmose I and wife of her half-brother, Thutmose II, from 1473 to 1458 B.C., she was regent and cornier of Egypt rule sut.

with her stepson, Thutmose III.

Among

Hat-

shepsut's achievements was the rebuilding of

temples and other structures ruined by the Hyksos, as she boasts in this temple inscrip-

(quoted

tion

volume 2 of J.H. Breasted's

in

Ancient Records of Egypt,).

Hear you, as

you

all

are!

the design of

persons! You people as I

my

many

have done this according to heart.

that which was ruins,

I

...

I have restored have raised up that

which was unfinished since the Asiatics [the Hyksos] were in the midst of Avaris of the Northland, and the barbarians were in the

midst of them, overthrowing that which was

made, while they ruled not recognize]

did

Ra

in

ignorance of [the

Egyptian

[i.e.,

A bust of Queen Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt alongside Thutmose III.

sun

god].

effectively;

so

it

is

not likely that every

chariot,

which already had an archer and

army had one. Prob-

a driver, increased the weight and de-

ably charioteers and selected foot archers

creased the agility of the vehicle. The so-

archer in the Egyptian

The widespread use of composite bows by warriors either on chariots or on foot inevitably created a need for some

lution, therefore, was the adoption of body armor. Sculptures and paintings from Egypt, Palestine, the island of Cyprus, and elsewhere in the Near East from this period show armored outfits made of copper or bronze scales sewn or

way

glued to leather or linen jerkins. Often

wielded

this special

weapon while

the rest

of the archers carried traditional simple

bows.

fired

to protect the archers

and other

ing a

bow

awkward shield;

sol-

at-

fir-

tached to the top of such a "mail" suit was

was too

a metal tube that protected the neck, chin,

for the archer to hold a large

and mouth; a metal helmet protected the

diers against these missiles.

Because

required both hands,

it

and adding a shield-bearer

head.

tc the

34

The New Kingdom and Chariot Warfare

Weaponry Old and New The

the pyramids] translated themselves

charioteers with their composite

did not ride into battle alone.

bows

They were

naturally to the army.

:"

of-

a large-

As

scale attack, but they always acted in concert

units,

with traditional infantry (foot soldiers),

and prestige of the military many native

ten the centeipiece of an

army and

in-

for the

cluding foot archers and soldiers wielding

Egyptians

axes, swords, and so forth. This gave

fighters

Egypt

somewhat of an advantage over many of enemies

it

lied

more on

of these states

were smaller; whereas,

ative to her opponents, as

still

the

skilled

re-

and forced

Healy explains,

Foreign-born

units.

man-

These

in-

units, including

who had been captured

to fight for

Egypt; and the Sher-

dan, another captured enemy,

originated in Asia

who may

Minor (what

who began

is

have

now

Egypt's large population allowed the

Turkey) ana

deployment of a large infantry

force;

armies in the thirteenth century B.C.

and the experience of centuries

in the

The weapons these troops used were a mix of traditional and new. The mace was abandoned because it was not very effective against the mail armor and metal helmets

organization and discipline of large

bodies of

men

[in

both military cam-

paigns and large building projects like

A

ranks.

Nubian scouts known as Medjay;

Libyans; Palestinians

rel-

infantry

important, though,

cluded the traditional Nubian

chariotry than infantry because

their populations

filled

were

ning large ethnic auxiliary

the

faced in Syria-Palestine during

New Kingdom. Most

the

makeup of Egyptian

thanks to the increased professionalism

surviving specimen of a khopesh, or "sickle sword." The outer edge

user could slash outward in a circular stroke.

35

fighting in Egyptian

was sharpened so

that the

Ancient Egypt

In a relieffound at Karnak, the

pharaoh

of Libyan foot soldiers, many of whom

now worn by many

common

troops.

Seti

lie

I,

holding a sickle sword, charges through ranks

mortally wounded.

Chariots and Infantry Work Together

But battle-axes

were

still

pierce

most helmets; and spears and javelins

because they could

remained mainstay infantry weapons. Besides the composite bow, the

most

in-

because les

its

named

was sharpened, in the case

two

rather than

its

its

early

combined

to

make

was so

effective, in fact, that the it

as the

specific tac-

New Kingdom.

But Vanderbilt Uni-

Drews provides

this

of the period: [The] opposing chariot forces would hurtle towards each other

the

khopesh a very effective slashing weapon. adopted

no descriptions of

was

a harder metal than copper;

factors

often, at least

commanders used units of chariots. Un-

plausible reconstruction of a chariot battle

inner one (as it

and sometimes

such battles have survived from the

versity scholar Robert

outer edge

of a normal sickle), and

made of bronze, these

smaller. Also,

to support offensive

tics in

curved blade resembled the sick-

much

its

fortunately,

used to cut wheat, except that the sword

blade was

own. But more

it

troduced into Egypt from Palestine. The khopesh, or "sickle sword," was so

infantry could

did act on

in larger pitched battles,

effective

newer weapon was the khopesh, a sword

The Egyptian

...

the

It

squadrons maintaining an assigned

pharaohs

order and the archers beginning to

symbol of their authority

discharge their arrows as soon as the

in

enemy came

place of the mace.

36

within range (perhaps

The New Kingdom and Chariot Warfare

Keeping Nubia in Line In addition to the considerable attention

paid to Syria-Palestine by early

this

New Kingdom

army of

majesty overthrew those bar-

his

anyone among

barians; they did not let live

wake of the expulsion of the Hyksos, several of these rulers launched cam-

their males, according to all the

paigns into Nubia. This account (quoted

the chief of wretched Nubia,

pharaohs

ume 2

in the

his majesty,

in vol-

away

of Breasted's Ancient Records of Egypt,)

alive as

a

living

from an

people to his majesty.

scribes

a subject of his

inscription found at Aswan, Egypt, deThutmose II (reigned 1492-1479 B.C.) quelling a Nubian rebellion.

command

of

except one of those children of

.

.

who was taken

prisoner with their .

This land

was made

majesty as formerly, [and]

the people rejoiced [and] the chiefs were joyful.

his majesty dispatched a numerous army into Nubia on his first occasion of a campaign, in order to overthrow all those who were rebellious against his majesty or hostile to the Lord of the Two Lands. Then

Then

A pharaoh Nubians in

37

rides into battle against the

in this

painting found on a chest

King Tutankhamen's tomb.

Ancient Egypt most important, was the attack on Megiddo

of two hundred meters

at a distance

who

The must have shot ever more rapidly and vigorously as the opposing

by Thutmose

forces closed the distance between

famous ancient Greek conqueror,

[660

feet]

Of

them.

killed or

possible.

or more).

many

course,

from 1479

horses were

.

.

.

was

to bring

Thutmose,

III.

1425

to

B.C., is

reigned

sometimes called

Alexander the Great,

the Egyptian

after the

for ex-

panding Egypt's sphere of influence to

wounded. The whole point

of the battle

many of

archers

down as

its

400,000 square miles,

largest extent (about

almost twice the size of the

state

of Texas).

the opponent's chariots as

Most of Thutmose's immediate predeces-

After the surviving

sors had maintained their influence and dominance over the petty kingdoms of

.

.

.

teams had made

way

their

other, the archers

past each

may have faced the

But shortly before he

Syria-Palestine.

as-

once

cended the throne, the powerful kingdom of

or twice at their opponents as they

Mitanni, situated northeast of Syria, had

rear of their vehicles

receded.

Then

the

and

two

fired

managed states. To

forces, if they

must have wheeled around and begun their second charge, this time from the oppowere

still

cohesive,

site direction.

to

impose

put

down

Upon

or

city

"runners," followed the chariots into the

as

Their tasks were to clear the field of

capsized chariots, capture or

kill fallen

en-

enemy

chariots.

host

was using

base.

The daring Thutmose decided

own

troops through a narrow, dangerous

This gamble paid

Whenever

ited the pass in

The Egyptians

off.

away, near the city's walls. According to

Thutmose's

protection in a chaotic sea of flying arrows.

dawn

official

annals, just before

Victory at Megiddo

[the]

Despite the absence of detailed contempo-

whole army, saying: "Equip your-

numbers of

command was

selves! Prepare

we

paigns in which chariot charges, infantry en-

wretched foe

counters, and sieges took place. In several of

The watchfmen] of

these forays, Egyptian armies entered Syria-

about,

if

shall

advance

to fight with that

in the

saying,

given to the

your weapons! for

Egyptian inscriptions describe military cam-

Perhaps the most vivid,

ex-

darkness to find the army of

Mitanni encamped less than half a mile

selves behind the chariots, tiny islands of

Palestine.

to

plain near the city.

must have placed them-

rary battle descriptions, large

the

mountain pass leading directly onto the

possible, especially in the opening stages of

a battle, the runners

enemy

of Megiddo (the biblical Armageddon)

its

his

tacked or chased after any infantrymen supthe

the

B.C.

attempt to surprise his opponents by taking

emy archers, and rescue their own fallen bowmen and charioteers. They also atporting

on these

reaching northern Palestine, he

learned that the

fray.

will

pharaoh marched northeast with a large army.

soldiers,

own

Egyptian authority, around 1457

21

Meanwhile, groups of foot

its

this "rebellion" against

morning!" the

.

.

.

army went

"Steady of heart!

Steady of heart! Watchful! Watchful!

not the

38

The New Kingdom and Chariot Warfare

Thutmose

III,

imperialist

the famous

who expanded

Egypt's borders to their

1457

greatest extent. In

he captured the

Megiddo,

Watch

One

for life at the tent of the king."

[officer]

majesty,

came

"The land

to is

[i.e., it

we

lord of power.

.

.

.

The southern wing

majesty was

are in a

in their center.

before the surprised

light,

:

.

.

Then

them

at

'

enemy The charge of

could prepare properly, the pharaoh led a

the Egyptian chariots

and

other forces must have been devastating, for

frontal assault.

the

comarmy to

opposing troops

Early in the morning, behold,

Megiddo

mand was

their chariots

given to the entire

move. His majesty went

silver],

arrayed

in his

in fear,

"fled

abandoning

of gold and

headlong to

their horses

silver."

The

rout

and

was

so complete that the fleeing soldiers acciden-

forth in a

chariot of electrum [an alloy of gold

and

.

his majesty prevailed against

the head of his army. first

at the

northwest of Megiddo while his

favorable position for battle]." 22

At

in Palestine.

of this army of his majesty was

well and the

appears that

B.C.,

of

war. like [the god] Horus, the Smiter,

say to his

infantry of the north and south like-

wise

city

tally

weapons of

locked out both the king of Megiddo and

the ruler of Kadesh, another local city that

39

Ancient Egypt had sided with Mitanni. In an embarrassing display,

"the people [of

them up ... by

their clothing into the city."

Thutmose then

laid siege to

seven months,

"The

at

which point

fear of his majesty

hearts],"

Megiddo] hauled

Megiddo it

I

Sphere

his serpent

[crown] was victorious

among

gold and silver

of Influence

The Empire of

Thutmose III (mid-1400s B.C.)

40

diadem

them. Then

their horses, their chariots .

.

.

[and] their

stretched out like fishes

[their

U Egypt I

annals conclude, "their arms

were captured

for

surrendered.

had entered

his

were powerless, [and]

of

champions lay

on the ground." 24

The New Kingdom and Chariot Warfare

One Threat Recedes,

Eventually,

Another Appears Thutmose followed up

rectly into

his victory

thirty-six

hostage;

local rulers this

was

by car-

rying back to Egypt the sons of

some

home

and holding them

become puppet

carried the

But

this

war

di-

campaign

and a generation

later,

that,

Mitanni was never again a serious threat to

ensured that their fathers

cities to

inconclusive;

itself.

Egypt and Mitanni made peace. After

would remain loyal to Egypt rather than Mitanni. Over the course of years, these young men were indoctrinated with Egyptian ideas and customs and sent back to their

Thutmose

Mitanni

Egypt. But the

latter's

power were

far

from

in the heart

of Asia Minor, a new, very for-

troubles as an imperial

over, for far to the north,

midable empire was rising ominously;

in the

fullness of time, Hatti, land of the Hittites,

would

rulers

test the

Egyptian military's strength

and resolve more severely than

friendly to Egypt.

41

ever.

Chapter Three

Military Service and

Organization numerous

Of

the

of the

New Kingdom,

scriptions

military reliefs

and

mighty personification of the sun god,

in-

commissioned by the pharaohs

familiar formula.

Re), or else the

a good many follow a The king is portrayed as the

leads his

army

into battle

and vanquishes

his

enemies, glorifying both himself and Egypt. In examining such artifacts,

Warrior pharaohs often associated themselves in art with the

Ra (or

war god, Montu; he fearlessly

sun god, Ra.

good

as

B

as the officers

is

it

easy to forget that a war leader

is

sometimes

usually only

and troops he com-

mands. Beneath the supreme, almost godlike position of pharaoh ranged a hierarchy of generals, scribes, unit teers,

scouts,

commanders, chario-

weapons and armor makers,

and ordinary foot

soldiers, all

working

to-

gether in a complex, smoothly running military organization.

A Society Transformed by Soldiering The army full

these

men

served in was largely

time and professional, so they often

stayed on for long hitches; and their lives, needs, and deeds

became a major

facet of

Egyptian society. The effects of military preparedness and warfare on the country

can be seen on both an individual level and a

42

more general one. For

the individual sol-

Military Service and Organization

A poor farmer pious

New Kingdom,

the fields in this surviving painting. In the

a new class of

farmers arose, consisting of ex-soldiers. dier. military service

Once

in the

lists that

army, his

in action, his all

and when he

retired, or

the benefits earned

by

who worked on the property. did not actually own such land

slaves

until the thirteenth

On

owned

all

the land

diers

re-

contrast, in areas

and ex-soldiers

emerged or

all

selves,

(Sol-

settled,

land but did not

the

actual

whole

work

labor being

slaves or hired labor.

plots

New

King-

where many

sol-

villages

which ordinary men supervised

in

owned

priests; the

and there was no

substantial middle class. In the

dom, by

his father,

including the use of a plot of land and

diers

latter

died

son took his place. The son

group of rich nobles and

elite

were maintained from one genera-

tion to the next;

ceived

was often hereditary. name was recorded on

it

them-

done by

These farmers, small

but not poor, Sheikh 'Ibada al-Nubi ex-

century B.C.)

a wider, societal level, the institution

plains,

of a standing army altered the traditional

breakdown of

social classes

and created the

represent the birth of an intermediate

opportunity for upward mobility. In ages past,

social

the vast majority of Egyptians had

class

or

Most of

government building their labor

between the ruling

who

did not

possess the means of production.

been dirt-poor peasants working on small farms

group,

and those workers

The

'middle class" tone ol the Eighteenth

projects.

Dynasty

had benefited a tiny

43

1

1550-1295

B.C.],

which

Ancient Egypt

Increasing social mobility allowed Horemheb, depicted in this tomb painting, to rise from the position of scribe to occupy Egypt's throne as pharaoh.

was proud of well-made

Significantly, the

objects dis-

playing a simple good taste and a certain

gaiety,

partly

is

due

to

emergence of this small

made it possible some ordinary Egyptians to better

but important middle class for at least

this

nucleus of people exempt from daily

their lives, as well as those of their children

work and with a modest, but sufficient income. The existence of a regular army thus profoundly modified the economic structure of the country by encouraging the longterm creation of small and medium-

and grandchildren.

sized property owners, alongside the

reigning from 1323 to 1295 B.C. Other

.

owned by

land

and

.

.

.

.

A

middle-class soldier

who had not been born of a noble family could now aspire to higher social position, as illustrated by the case of Horemheb. He be-

.

gan as a military scribe and eventually rose through the ranks to become pharaoh, pharaohs

the sovereign, princes,

temples. 2S

who began

their careers in the

military ranks included

44

Horemheb's prede-

Military Service and Organization cessor.

Ay (1327-1323

Rameses

(1295-1294

I

B.C.),

and successor,

the pharaoh

assumed

The Top Military Commanders

Not only did

The

the strategy

which Horemheb

position of pharaoh,

total control

on a campaign," Mark Healy

B.C.).

this entail

of the army

writes,

him defining

and plan of a campaign

and a few others attained by hard work rather

but also his personal involvement on

than aristocratic privilege, represented the

the field of battle. [The New Kingdom pharaohs] Thutmose III, Amen-

pinnacle of Egypt's military organization and administration.

A large portion of the youth of

a pharaoh-to-be

tactics.

This was necessary because as

in his capital

and

let his

modem

have been

large

I

of

and

their

seems never

to

2h

in question.

measure on the personal

This is part of a hymn volume 2 of Breasted's Ancient Records of Egyptj inscribed on a marker stone

on which the pharaoh Thutmose III

is

have put the roaring of your majesty

The chiefs of

in

all

countries are gathered in

your grasp, I

accom-

myself have stretched out

my two

hands,

panied by a goddess who has supposedly helped I

have bound them for you.

Such words and imI

ages were effective propaganda designed not

image of the army and military

have bounded together the Nubian troglodytes by tens of thousands and

only to glorify the king, but also to enhance the

thousands, service.

[And] the Northerners by hundreds of thouI I

have worked

sands as captives.

marvel for you; I

have given to you might and victory against

I

a

all

You have smitten the hordes of rebels

have set your fame, even the fear of you

as

in all lands.

Your terror lars of I

[is

have felled your enemies beneath your sandals,

countries,

known] as

far as

the four

.

.

.

commanded you.

The [peoples of the] earth

pil-

in its length

and

breadth, Westerners and Easterners [alike],

heaven;

have magnified the dread of you

I

are subject to you,

in all

You trample

bodies,

45

all

in

and

abilities

among the Nine Bows.

their military deeds.

victory.

all

II

Pharaoh's Propaganda

As the supreme leaders of the Egyptian army, regularly bragged of

ensure his recent

were

leadership

Thus, the fortunes of the country rested

war

New Kingdom pharaohs (quoted

their

generals

national leaders. "In

A

for

bravery

personal

re-

run a war, as in the case of the U.S. president

and other

and Rameses

II,

their chariot corps in battle,

to strategy

supreme commander the pharaoh did not

main behind

hotep

renowned

to learning the

from weapons use

military arts,

and

was devoted

countries, your heart glad.

Ancient Egypt

An

officer addresses a

A complex

New Kingdom painting.

group of military recruits in the top panel of this in the Egyptian army.

chain of command existed

judgment of a

single individual. Luckily for

Corps, based

New

Corps, based

Egypt, a majority of the rulers of the

Kingdom were extremely ble leaders;

Horemheb,

responsible, capa-

and a few, most notable among

sions,

at

Memphis, and

at

there

the Southern

Thebes. After the reign of

were four main army

each composed of roughly

men and commanded by

divi-

five thou-

A

them Thutmose HI, can be described as gifted.

sand

Ranked directly beneath the pharaoh were a number of major field commanders. If the

general maintained his local military base,

pharaoh had a son old enough, the son held

an upcoming campaign, and led that corps

the rank of

commander

swered only

to his father.

in chief

trained

new



Each of these small armies

P-Re

two sections

in

was named

in the early

New Kingdom—the

the

prepared his corps for

on the march.

and an-

Next came two

chief deputies, each in charge of one of the

which

recruits,

army was divided Northern

(or Re), Ptah,

and Seth

for an important

with the region where

46

a general.

it

called Amun,

(or

Sutekh)—

god associated

was based. When on

Military Service and Organization campaign, each was a self-contained unit featuring infantry, chariots,

and a supply

They could be combined

into

quickly to help the infantry

der attack.

train.

now

un-

:7

one large army

for a battle if necessary: or they could

work

separately to accomplish

tasks,

individual

giving the overall strike force great

Army Scribes and Their Duties

flexibility.

For safety's sake, the four armies did not

Under

march through enemy

cluding standard-bearers, in charge of main-

rather

moved along

territory together, but

separated from one an-

were other

the generals

officers, in-

and carrying the army's standards

taining

other by a distance of about six miles, while

(plaques, flags, carvings, and other official

messengers on horses or chariots sped among

symbols), and various deputies.

them

most important ranking positions was

to

maintain communications.

logic of this organization

is

"The

apparent," Healy

scribe.

points out.

One of

the

that

of

There was one main scribe for the en-

tire military,

who

reported either directly to

the pharaoh or to his vizier, a high-ranking

given that the principal tactic of the opposition

was

the

nonmilitary official

ran the

country for the king. In addition, numerous

an

lower-ranking scribes worked in each of the

skirmishing chariotry to strike

at

advancing army on the march. The short distance

who more or less

employment of

four

between each corps en-

army

divisions.

The

essential duties without

scribes

had several

which the army, or

sured that in the event of the protect-

any army for that matter, simply could not

ing chariots of one being swept away,

operate.

support could be

moved forward

lists

of

These included keeping up-to-date all recruits, retirees,

A

deceased, and

military scribe's duties

included keeping recruits

died

47

and

in battle.

of new who had

lists

soldiers

.

Ancient Egypt wounded; ordering, maintaining, and

to carry their supplies], [and] their

cata-

with

loging stocks of supplies; assessing labor

chariots

needs and assigning workers to address such

weapons of war. 28

.

.

.

filled

all

manner of

needs; and dividing rations and equipment

among

the officers

and

soldiers.

An

inkling

of the nature of such rations and equipment

Army Units and

comes from a surviving scribal order to make preparations for a campaign in Syria:

Finally,

Foreign Auxiliaries

And

further:

may you

tention to have

horse-team which

is

the

.

.

destined for

men

Kharu, together with their stable-

sion of 5,000

masters, and likewise their grooms,

follows: a host,

appear to have been as

made up of 500 men;

their

"bags of hairy fabric" being

company, having 250 men (so

filled

with fodder and straw

haversacks [packs] being

.

their

were two companies

filled

with

with 50

.

.

loaves of bread, the asses being indi-

toons);

every two

men

(a

a

that there

to a host); a platoon,

company having

and a squad, with 10 men

five pla-

(a platoon

down into five squads). Each unit commander had his own designation; for

two men men had one donkey

breaking

vidually in the charge of [i.e.,

who

officers

individual units of soldiers.

The exact breakdown and sizes of army units are not precisely known, but roughly speaking those smaller than an army divi-

give your at-

someone equip

were junior

there

commanded

A Hardworking Army Scribe This

ter tle,

is

[by the supply depot back in Egypt]

part of the often-quoted Satirical Let-

(quoted

in

Alan Shulman's Military Rank,

and Organization

Kingdom,), in which an

in

army

the

Eyptian

scribe

named

tion which

Ti-

is

is

the

ra-

before you, namely loaves of

New

bread, small animals, and jars of wine, but

Hori

the number of people [you have to feed with

who is skeptical that somewhat overdramatic some of the problems he

responds to a colleague

these supplies]

Hori works very hard. In

supply

terms, Hori describes

[these supplies] and they are placed in the

has faced on the job.

is

keen scribe, skilled of heart, there

soldiers!

.

.

head of the You [the scribe] are sent on a

has

come and the camp

start

mission to Djahi at the head of the victori-

[troop

ous soldiers in order to trample down those

feet].

rebels.

.

.

.

What had been brought

.

.

.

You receive

rations in portions,

each man

[in] his

hands. ... Oh sapient [wise] scribe, midday

in the darkness at the .

[Diwy up] the

quickly, [placing] that of

is

nothing about which he does not know.

Oh torch

too large for you, [and] the

camp. The soldiers are ready and prepared [to eat].

The

is

too small for them!

to you

day's

hot. It is time to

march].

Our night quarters are

48

is

Don't make the commander] angry [by dragging your Many are the marches before us.

[the

.

far off.

.

.

Military Service and Organization example, a platoon leader was a "chief of

the real chance for

fifty-

the ranks (a privilege probably not granted

There were also Egyptian officers who commanded the groups of foreign auxiliaries who fought in the army. Appropriately, these

to foreign troops)

capturing an

commanders were

called "leaders of foreign

pharaoh usually gained large caches of

who seem

gold, jewels, fine fabrics, horses, slaves, and

have been non-Egyptians drawn directly

so forth; and he shared a certain amount of

troops," to

and

their junior officers,

advancement through

and government grants of

land on retirement, there was booty. After

enemy camp

or town, the

was

from the foreign ranks, were the "leaders of

this treasure

tribesmen." In ancient sculptures and paint-

common custom for commanders to allow a

ings, scholar

Alan R. Shulman points

soldier to

out,

with his troops.

It

keep as slaves any prisoners he

had personally captured. Marching

these foreign soldiers

also

in the

pharaoh's victory parade in front of thou-

shown

usually

are

dress,

characteristic of their nations.

occasionally

been always

.

.

perk.

infantry.

.

.

.

When

relief

Pharaoh Seti

in

They seem to have

.

A

found

temple complex

Only

shown

they

are

Egyptian dress.

on

sands of cheering countrymen was another

native

their

in

equipped with the weapons

on

The

not

I

and

their return

Thebes, shows the

his

army being greeted

from an Asiatic campaign.

inscription reads:

active duty, the auxiliaries, like the

Egyptian troops, were quartered their

own

settlements

.

.

.

Prophets, nobles, and officials of the

in

South and North, coming to acclaim

with their

weapons stored in government arsenals. This would mean that they were not

continuously

standing

to the at

his

Good God

Retenu [Syria] with very numerous

under

captivity [prisoners].

were not always on

the like of

active

service

[and therefore could not pose a threat

might:

Hyksoshad]. 29

it.

.

majesty,

his

Egyptian society as the armed

.

Never was seen

.They say,

"Welcome

who

you have subdued;

are triumphant,

as

has

and your ene.

.

.Your sword

midst of every land, and M their chiefs fell by your blade. in the

fought in these various

units, military service

drawbacks,

was

his

from the

are you,

mies are beneath you.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Military Service

in praising

magnifying

in

countries which

you

For the soldiers

the pharaoh],

[i.e.,

from the country of

return

arms; and consequently that they

to

Karnak, the great

at

at

had

its

benefits

been true

in

On

and

armies

the other hand, everyday

soldiers



especially

life

for

most

on campaigns, which

—was

Typical were

throughout the ages. Egyptian troops (and

were frequent

perhaps on occasion some foreign troops)

long marches through barren regions; ex-

could look forward to various incentives lor

tended periods living

enlistment and rewards for service. Besides

far

49

difficult.

in squalid

conditions

from home and family; numerous camp

Ancient Egypt

Generous Rations for the Troops When

government supplied the and other neces-

the

sary

goods,

nished to the army in ointment, ox-flesh,

morale

their

was

naturally

In this inscription, from the sixth

higher.

year of the reign of Seti I (ca. 1288 B.C.), the pharaoh is generous to a thousand soldiers sent to procure large blocks of sandstone for a temple he is building (as quoted in volume 3 of J.H. Breasted's Ancient

and plentiful vegetables without

Every

man among them had 20 deben

etables, a roast of flesh;

for his majesty.

but they

have survived, warning young

.

.

[The king's messenger and

.

.

.

men

commanders]

[the

for yourself!".

weak and [He

this one:

speak to you of the

will

I

He dawn] when

of the infantryman. ...

.

ened [before an hour

still

left

there

for sleeping.

He

.

[But] his knee

who

cast

away and

others seize

it.

.

.

.

wife and children are in their village,

is

but he

is [either]

dead and does not

sun sets beneath

[too]

exhausted from marching

enjoy

it].

dark-

He hungers and his He is dead while he

ness of night.

When

lives.

ration [he riod] but

for

it

is

it

ous],

in the hills

.

.

of

It is

is

and troops

any officer

is

his nose shall text describes

The enemy comes and surrounds him with arrows. with dysentery.

.

is

[to

number of

alike.

was a

Under Horemheb, rule stating that "if

guilty of extortions or thefts,

the law shall be executed against him, in that

pierced

.

a survivor, he

31

for instance, there

foul-tasting, like the

and his belly

is

fragments thereof have survived that

officers

[where

narrow, steep, and danger-

salt,

he

describe harsh and exacting punishments for

His

and he drinks only water for

three days. taste

.

[or] if

for military discipline, a

texts or

[the grain] is not pleasant,

marches are high trails are

As

he receives the graingranted a short rest pe-

has been ground.

is

His

is

it,

belly aches.

.

.

worn

are too

reach

its

is

.

forced to carry on his back

is

driven like a jackass and he works until the

in-

name

out to walk any farther]. His pack

ills

awak-

is

say,

his face is miserable.

foreign captives

Come,

oil,

every day.

.

fantryman! Bring back a good

including

life,

and linen garments

Forward, oh mighty

"Hurry!

vari-

ous diseases; and harsh discipline. Quite a

about the rigors of military

un-

standard-bearers also received] wine, sweet

doses of backbreaking

work; the increased chance of catching

limit.

[just

monthly. Thus they worked with a loving heart

honey, and figs

duties, including large

texts

fish,

der four pounds] of bread daily, bundles of veg-

Records of Egypt,).

few

majesty increased that which was fur-

His

troops with sufficient food

diers

50

off."

32

The following

an offense committed by



the theft of cattle and other

longing to the

.

be cut

state:

sol-

goods be-

Military Service and Organization The two

divisions of troops

one

which are

detailed images

on the outside walls

in the southern region.

and forecourts of temples depicted

the other in the northern region, stole

each stage of the military exploits of

hides in the whole land

the king.

in the field,

.

.

.without ap-

cattle

which were not due

to them,

.

.

These representations

at different

battle's

which was stamped from

times and

in

They show the dramatic moments, the de-

different places.

thereby increasing their number, and stealing that

.

were copied

plying the brand of the royal house to

.

.

.

ployment of soldiers

.

.

.

and the geo-

them. They went out from house to

graphical features of the battlefield.

house, beating and plundering withn out leaving a hide for the people.

used to stimulate the imagination [of

.

.

.

The

actual facts of the

war

are

the viewers]."

Those caught received scribed

this penalty, also pre-

Egyptian foot soldiers march daring a military

by Horemheb:

campaign

As

any citizen of the army,

for

[about]

whom one shall hear,

"He goes about ginning with

saying:

stealing hides," be-

this day, the

law

shall

be executed against him by beating

him a hundred blows [with a whip?], opening

five

wounds, and taking

from him by force the hides which he took.

14

Buying into the Glories of War One would

think that, reading about the

privations,

tough discipline, and harsh

punishments of military would ever want to join army. However, the fact is

life,

no one

the pharaoh's that

most ordi-

nary Egyptians could not read and only

heard such dire accounts third- or fourth-

hand by word of mouth. More importantly,

the

government compensated

for

these warnings by issuing extremely ef-

propaganda about the glories of war and serving in the military. "Visible to fective

everyone," al-Nubi points out. 51

in this

carved

relief.

Ancient Egypt As

in

many

idealistic

lands in

all

was

ages, inexperienced,

young men often became

with the image of the soldier running

roughshod over a ing

home

fearful

in a blaze

less glory

and much more

dirty

danger involved. But most of those

infatuated

vived and

enemy and march-

made

it

home

in

who

sur-

one piece reaped

sufficient material benefits to

of glory. Once con-

work and

make

rience worthwhile and to pass

on

the expe-

their

proud

military mantle to the next eager generation.

scripted or enlisted, they learned that there

52

Chapter Four

Borders, Fortifications,

and Sieges The earliest Egyptian fortresses were fortified cities

within the country

itself.

First Intermediate Period,

A

surviving fragment of a pottery model of a city wall dating

riod

seems

to

back

soldiers

which were discovered

manning a

Deir el-Bahari

and open spaces,

Apart from

and medieval times; archers and

the frontiers

notches and fired their weapons through the

ritories.

for cities across the

and

Near East

third millennia B.C.,

common

an era when neigh-

in the

In Egypt's case, episodes of warfare be-

doms probably united those

cities.

reflected in the

name he gave

it

the

manned

by following

that

Later,

while some Egyptian

these forts in a defensive

assumed an offensive posture their

pharaohs across the bor-

enemy

towns.

These defensive and offensive opera-

new

tions

fortified, as



view

and well-being of the nation.

ders to lay siege to

B.C., ini-

Dynastic Period, his

Memphis, was heavily

ter-

Old and Middle Kingdoms

New Kingdom,

role, others

When Menes

kingdoms about 3100

tiating the Early capital.

troops

two predynastic king-

necessitated fortifying the

walls of important

between Egypt and foreign

maintaining the borders was integral to the safety

original

on the

mainly along

partly because of the long-held

other.

its

forts,

These outposts were deemed nec-

essary in the

in the fourth

boring city-states often attacked one an-

tween

fortified towns, early

Egyptians built military

other soldiers hid behind the protective

open spaces.) Such defenses were

mass grave at Nile from

the

trying to scale such walls.

a familiar feature of battlements and castles in ancient

in a

(across

Thebes), are likely the remains of soldiers

crenellated wall. (Crenellation consists of alternating stone notches

Numer-

ous skulls riddled with cracks and dents,

to the Predynastic Pe-

show two

many towns had

walls with crenellated battlements.

that

depended on technology and methods

played off of and stimulated each other.

When someone

White

Wall. Later, during the civil wars ot the

that

53

new

siege device

could breach one part of a

fortress, the

invented a

Ancient Egypt

The characteristic notches and spaces of crenellation, seen

in forts

and fortifications through

the ages, grace the battlements of an ancient Egyptian fortress.

defenders soon contrived a

new

Delta, the Libyan frontier west of the delta,

strategy or

and the Nubian

device to counteract the threat; then, the besiegers

came up with another

frontier in the south, at

beyond the region of the

innovation,

and

First Cataract.

followed by a countermeasure by the de-

(The cataracts are points where the

fenders; and so forth. Thus, as noted classi-

passes through rocky areas with heavy

cal

scholar Peter Connolly points out,

"Fortifications tricably

rapids; these areas

and siege warfare are inex-

[inescapably] combined.

goods had

The de-

in the other,"

1

two must be considered

ships in

the

next passable stretch.)

The

walls and forts in the Nubian frontier are the

and therefore the

''

were not navigable, so

be downloaded from ships,

carried overland, then reloaded onto other

velopment of one inevitably stimulates changes

to

river

best preserved in Egypt, and their physical

together.

layout

is

likely representative of

examples

Protecting the Flow of Trade Goods

elsewhere.

The

outpost in the Nubian frontier was erected

three

main areas

in

tians erected fortification walls

were the Palestinian

The

which the Egypand

forts

at

frontier east of the Nile

first

permanently occupied Egyptian

Buhen, near the Second Cataract,

mid-third millennium

54

in the

B.C. at the height

of

Borders, Fortifications, and Sieges the

Old Kingdom. The outpost consisted of

ond

a small settlement protected by a huge stone wall.

Evidence shows

was

the

which

main

activity

in

These served as both military

tians

wanted

to

make

The Egypmoved same time they

along smoothly, but

the settlement,

primary

sure that goods at the

sought to limit the free flow of "wretched"

Nubia was the exploitation of

Nubians

into Egypt, as revealed

materials. Military expansion into the

scription

on a marker stone

interest in

raw

that copper-smelting

reflects the fact that Egypt's

Cataract.

outposts and customs stations.

which began in earnest in the Middle Kingdom, was designed to protect and

pharaoh Senusret

area,

III

set

about 1866

by an

B.C.:

maintain the northward flow of valuable

[The southern boundary of the realm

goods. Between about 1970 to 1840

is

B.C.,

a

long chain of forts grew up between Aswan, at the First

A

Cataract, and Buhen, at the Sec-

heavily weathered and eroded wall

in the

hereby marked]

that it,

in

order to prevent

any black Nubian should cross

by water or by land, with a ship or

Buhen fortress, near

the

Second Cataract,

pierced by several holes through which defenders fired missiles at attackers.

55

in-

up by the

is

"

Ancient Egypt any herds [of livestock belonging

gests that the second in

to]

was an

the black Nubians, except a black

Nubian

.

.

.

with a commission

written contract

officer with the

command

of a fort

of "scribe of the

title

fort."

[i.e.,

from the Egyptian

Physical Layout of Forts forts these men oversaw all had

government]. Every good thing shall

be done with them, but without

The

al-

rather

Each was

lowing a ship of black Nubians to

similar basic ground plans.

pass by Semna, going downstream

around a convenient grid of narrow

forever.

lined

built

streets

by storerooms, workshops, barracks and larger quarters for the

for the soldiers, Clearly, the military forts erected in this

officers.

A

wider

street encircled the

com-

period ensured that Egypt would maintain

plex on the inside of the defensive wall,

monopoly on gold and other metals, ivory, animals, and slaves derived from Nubia and other African kingdoms lying far-

lowing the residents easy access to the

its

ther south. That they installations is

battlements in an emergency.

were seen as important

protected

parently on a par with the

fresh water in case of siege.

host; in addition,

he seems also

The

was ap-

commander of

a

that

have been

to

fortification walls

and battlements

surrounded such military camps were

large,

a high-ranking administrator reporting directly to the pharaoh's vizier.

walkways or tunnels leading to ample supply of

the river so as to ensure an

rank of the officer in charge of each. Called a "fort officer," his military position

the

were erected near the Nile and had

forts

demonstrated by the high

Most of

al-

impressive, and designed to repel

large-scale attack (although

how

Evidence sug-

it

is

unclear

often the Nubians were able to

mount

Some Oddly Shaped Forts Although the bask inner layout of most Middle Kingdom forts was the same a grid of narrow streets lined by build-

Mirgissa, were simply rectangular structures

Egyptian ings

— — the shapes of the outer defensive

were all five of the surviving forts north Second Cataract group), the rest had idiosyncratic [individual] shapes dictated by the terrain. The fort at Semna, for instance, was built in an L shape in order to conform with the rocky hill on which it stood. At Uronarti, an island near Semna, the fort was triangular in shape and the northern side was more heavily fortified with huge towers, since the flatter terrain to the north made attacks from that direction more dangerous. (as

of the

walls

of these structures sometimes varied, as explained by Ian Shaw in his Egyptian Warfare and Weapons.

The

Middle Kingdom forts

.

.

.

were prob-

ably designed by only one or two architects, [yet] they

show fascinating

variations

response to the local topography. Whereas the two largest sites, Buhen and in

56

Borders, Fortifications, and Sieges

This view of the northwest battlements of the Buhen fortress shows a row of square bastions and protruding below them, two semicircular bastions with firing holes.

such assaults). Yigael Yadin provides

more

thick.

this

the largest

and best preserved

Middle Kingdom,

at

It is

considered [by experts] to

have been 10 meters [32

detailed description of the defenses at fortress of the

Buhen (which had

was

The

gate

em

side of the wall.

in the center

been much expanded since the Old King-

entire length, the wall

dom):

at intervals

feet] high.

of the west-

Throughout

was

its

"blistered"

of 5 meters with protrud-

ing square bastions [large stone barri-

The

fortress

is

almost square, measur-

ing 170 by 180 meters [558 feet].

The

fortifications

basic elements: the

ers],

comprise four

main

each two meters [6.5

wide.

feet]

Each corner of the fortress was marked by a large tower, which pro-

by 590

truded from the face of the wall even

(inner) wall,

the outer or advance wall, the moat,

more conspicuously than

and the very

An

well-fortified gate struc-

The main wall was built of bricks and was about five meters [16 feet]

fortifications

ture.

the

57

the bastions.

Buhen

impressive feature of the is

the [positioning]

form of the low outer

wall.

.

.

.

and This

.

Ancient Egypt

The Water Supply at Megiddo and constructing

planning Intified cities, the

Egyptians

forts

and

and

opponents,

their

tured. The town's water supply

for-

including

ancient builders,

in

dred feet outside the defensive walls. In a

in-

Herculean effort, the builders dug a shaft

evitably had to consider the problem of the

water supply. At

when under

a

siege,

about

but especially

times,

all

fortified

was located

an underground cave more than two hun-

a

hundred feet deep, the same depth

of the well, within the city walls; then they

settlement

excavated a horizontal tunnel from the bot-

needed a ready supply of fresh water, else it its inhabitants for more than a few days. Digging deep wells beneath the settlement or excavating underground tunnels to distant water sources were among the approaches to solving this problem. One of the more formidable examples in the Near East was that of Megiddo, in Palestine, which the pharaoh Thutmose III besieged and cap-

tom of the shaft to the well. Cleverly, they made the tunnel's floor slope slightly down-

could not support

ward toward the gravity would

city so that the force of

move the water from one end

to the other. Finally, they firmly sealed the

cave entrance to the well to make sure that

an enemy could not find and destroy the precious water supply.

low wall was also of brick, and along

teen meters (forty-nine feet), well past the

face a series of semicircular bas-

low wall on the outer bank of the moat. De-

wide had been

fenders could stand on a crenellated walk-

its

tions 3 meters [10 feet]

wall and the bastion were firing [holes].

.

.

way

of 10 meters. In the

built at intervals

.

two rows of

Each enabled

moat

in three directions.

.

fire

weapons down

(The need for such elaborate and formidable gate defenses strongly suggests that po-

.

At the foot of the outer wall there was

moat

of these towers, so that they

onto the area directly in front of the gate.

fire to

be applied downward onto the attackers in the

at the top

overlooked and could

tential

wide

attackers

in

this

era

possessed

rams designed

to crash through

and more than 6 meters [20 feet] deep.

gates; the regular walls

and moat would

To make

have been more than sufficient to fend off

a dry

cross, built

The interest

8.5 meters [28 feet]

it

even more

difficult

battering

to

an additional low wall had been

on

gate

its

farther bank.

complex

and shows

at

Buhen

that the

On

handheld weapons.)

is

of special

Sieges: Erecting an

Egyptians were

considerably advanced in the sive fortification.

an assault by arrows, spears, and other

38

art

Enclosure Wall

of defen-

each side of the

The Egyptians were adept not only

large,

at

de-

fending their forts against attack, but also

double-doored gate was a tower similar to

at

those occupying the corners of the fortress.

towns. This

These gate towers extended outward for

ing inscriptions. For example, the siege of

fif-

58

attacking is

enemy

and fortified numerous surviv-

forts

attested in

Borders, Fortifications, and Sieges Megiddo. directed by Thutmose

III

after

"Thutmose

army of Mitanni in the 1400s B.C., was recorded in that

his defeat of the

early

III-is-the-Surrounder-of-

the-Asiatics." People to

pharaoh's annals:

to

watch over the

whom

was

it

tent

were stationed of his majesty,

said:

"Steady of

commanded [his men], saying "Let not one among them [the confined enemy] come heart!" His majesty

commanded

His majesty

the officers

of the troops to go [forth and besiege the citadel], assigning to each his place.

They measured

rounding

it

with

forth outside,

cept to

this city, sur-

an

pleasant trees.

beyond

this wall, ex-

out in order to knock

the door of their fortification

enclosure,

walled about with green timber of all their

come

[i.e.,

at

to

signal that they are ready to surren1

His majesty

der the

'

city]."

himself was upon the fortification east

of

this

work]. ... thick wall.

city,

inspecting

The account mentions an enclosure wall city, which was obviously

[the

was walled about with a ... Its name was made:

erected around the

It

intended to prevent any of the defenders

relief sculpture of Thutmose III, victor at Megiddo. According was only one of several cities he besieged in Syria-Palestine.

,4

59

to

Egyptian annals,

this

Ancient Egypt from escaping and also

to

reinforcements from getting

forests

The wall was

in.

"all" the

Except for the enclosure wall, the royal

Leveling the surrounding

account of the Megiddo siege does not

constructed with the trees in the area.

Sieges: Saps and Scaling Ladders

keep food and/or

wood from

was probably designed

mention any specific siege methods or

to eliminate

hiding places for any escapees as well as to

devices the Egyptians employed.

provide the material needed for the enclosure

ever, several surviving

wall. in

It

Kingdom. The

of the era,

left

relief

emy

fortress.

Some

of the soldiers are in

the proviso that fruit

the process of digging a tunnel (or sap)

might feed the attackers should be

under the walls. Meant either to weaken

When you it

.

.

.

it

destroy and cut

down

you may

until

it falls.

ladders

that lean against the fortress walls. Sig-

have wheels

nificantly, the ladders

at the

bottom, indicating that they have been

build siegeworks against the city that

makes war with you,

was a common

other Egyptians climb scaling

you may

that

to give access to

medieval times. While the sappers work,

in order

only the trees which you

are not trees for food

and collapse the walls or the citadel, or both, this

siege technique throughout ancient and

besiege a city for a long

making war against

to take

know

A

details.

in a

Egyptians methodically assaulting an en-

besiegers to use the

undisturbed:

time,

such

Howreliefs

tomb in Saqqara, a burnear Memphis, shows an army of

found

ial site

in Palestine in the lat-

tells

same approach, with trees that

New

book of Deuteron-

biblical

omy, which originated ter part

illustrating sieges provide

was apparently a common technique

Near Eastern sieges in the era of the

Egyptian

40

rolled rather than carried into place.

The

A

Captured Town Yields Rich Booty Using scaling ladders, axes, and other weapons and devices, Egyptian armies captured numerous towns in Syria-Palestine over the centuries; but perhaps no pharaoh breached as many defensive walls as Thutmose III. In this

filled

excerpt from his official annals (quoted in vol-

their [individual]

ume 2 of

J.H.

their fruit,

tiful

captured the Syrian town of

.

.

wines were water

.

.

.

was more plen-

than the sands of the shore. The

diers of the]

.

their

in their presses as

flows, [and] their grain

Breasted's Ancient Records of

Egypt,), his forces

with

found remaining

portions [of the booty]

[which included] 51 slaves male and

female; 30 horses; 10 flat dishes of silver

Arvad and collected much booty.

.

.

.

470

jars of honey; 6,428 jars of wine;

[large quantities of] copper [and] lead

majesty overthrew the city of Arvad, with its grain, cutting down all

616 large

pleasant trees.

fruit of this country.

Behold, its

.

.

.

.

.

3,636 small cattle; [many] loaves [of bread] [and] all the good

his

.

[sol-

army were overwhelmed with

cattle;

.

Their gardens were

60

.

.

Borders, Fortifications, and Sieges

In this

carved

drawing based on a relief,

an Egyptian

army led by pharaoh Rameses II lays siege

to

a

The defenders use

fortress.

long poles to push

away

the

scaling ladders. reliefs

show

that in

such situations, Egyp-

tian archers fired barrages of

arrows

may have

at

the battlements to provide cover for the

climbers as they

made

their

way up

grounds

in [Syria-Palestine],

which no

doubt proved a tough administrative reliefs

show

and technical obstacle for the move-

attacking Egyptians

down wooden fortress gates. Most of these scenes come from the New Kingdom, when the Egypusing battle-axes to chop

tians

the

bases in Egypt and the battle-

itary

the

ladders.

Other

explanations:

several

considerable distance between the mil-

no longer, or

at least rarely,

ment of this heavy instrument

more

fortifications at the

common feature of Old and Middle Kingdom sieges. 'The absence of the battering ram in the Egyptian armies of the New Kingdom,"

These

Yadin suggests,

fect

battering ram.

which had been a

fairly

.

.

and

of the

end of the previous

and the beginning of

used the

.

particularly, the firmness

fortifications

this

were

period.

built espe-

cially to withstand the battering ram.

And

they succeeded in blunting

fectiveness, for

61

it

instrument/

1

was

its

ef-

not as yet a per-

Ancient Egypt

Greek soldiers climb from their hiding place inside the Trojan Horse scene.

A number

of Egyptian accounts

a famous mythological

in

of similar penetration of city defenses by

tell

stealth.

Sieges: The Use of Stealth

night the Greeks crept out, opened the gates

Another approach

for their comrades,

tified

to taking a fortress or for-

town was somehow

Although

sieged into lowering their defensives long

enough

The

for the besiegers to gain entry.

than

most famous version from ancient times was the incident in the Trojan

War

Greeks pretended to give up of Troy. They

left

front of the city

a

which

in

their

they thought

Greek

soldiers

in

was hiding

stealth

which

city.

legend rather

some

that

version,

two

to

most renowned Egyptian

which predates the Trojan War by

centuries, tells

mose

III

That

Jaffa,

in

62

to

such stratagems of

were actually attempted from time

squad of

in its belly.

is

resembles a number of other

time. Perhaps the

offering to the gods,

into the city, not realizing that a

it

them suggests

and then sailed away. The

was an

fact,

account

this

from Egypt. The frequency of references

long siege

jubilant Trojans dragged the horse,

sneaked back

similar ancient accounts, including

the

huge wooden horse

who had

under cover of darkness, and sacked the

to trick the be-

how

the pharaoh Thut-

supposedly captured the city of Palestine.

The Egyptian com-

Borders, Fortifications, and Sieges mander Thot Jaffa,

sent a

message

to the prince

you enter

of

saying that Thot had decided to sur-

the city,

you

your companions and

who

are to

on

render and would signify his submission by

the people

sending

put them in bonds immediately."

And

gifts in baskets.

he [Thot] had the 200 baskets

brought get

.

down

were

.

Thinking

and he had 200 soldiers

.

into them.

filled

with

And

their

arms

[weapons

and

[i.e..

the baskets

shut with the

men

.

.

.

.

.

.

And they

lowed

told.

him

to enter the city

Once

their orders

men

inside, the

fol-

and unsealed the baskets,

allowing the armed Egyptians to burst forth

And

and capture the

How much

who "When

much

[the carriers,

were unarmed] were

Thot was surrendering, the

the gift baskets.

they had every good soldier carrying

them.

42

accompanied by the unarmed men carrying

were sealed

inside].

all

and

are in the city

prince of Jaffa allowed

ropes] and they were sealed up with seals

that

out

let

lay hold

fable

that the

63

II.

is

the

and how

true

unknown. What

Egyptians of the

In a scene found on a wall of the mortuary temple of Rameses

are attacking the fortress at Dapur. held by the Hittites.

is

city.

of this story

is

certain

is

New Kingdom

pharaoh and

his

army

Ancient Egypt successfully besieged cities

many

and

fortresses

carved out and maintained a large sphere of influence in the Near East; and for a pe-

using a wide variety of devices and

methods. At the same time, they built

many

fortresses of their

own

and

way

more

than twice as long as the United States has

to control

trade routes, guard border areas,

timidate their enemies. In this

riod of about five hundred years,

existed,

in-

Egypt was unarguably one of the

world's great powers.

they

64

Chapter Five

Egypt's Military

The Battle of Kadesh

Zenith:

The Egyptians fought hundreds of battles in

turning point in the saga of ancient Egypt;

dozens of campaigns stretching over

the long years of the Old. Middle,

Kingdoms. Yet only one greatest

and most

recorded

in

The

tions.

fought

in

any

battle in

Kadesh

world

and

battle,

and

surprisingly, given

modern

On

the

was

The Hittites Threaten Syria That sphere had been carved out by the early pharaohs of the Eighteenth Dynasty, the first of the three dynasties comprising

specific

employed

tians

through

the

enemy

1482

how

how

chariots

about

were used

formations, and

how

a

to

syria,

hand,

the

battle

partic-

As Mark Healy

explains:

forces,

break up troop

war leader dealt with

counteroffensives. represents

On a

the

in

to ensure

and others coveted the region,

ularly the area of Syria.

During

this

crossroads

reverses on the battlefield and attempted to initiate

Megiddo

had been designed

Palestine.

they utilized

enemy

B.C.,

permanent control of SyriaIt was no accident that great Near Eastern powers like Egypt, Mitanni, As-

Egyp-

scouts and other military intelligence to

gather information

triumphant cam-

highlighted by his

Egypt's

vital infor-

—how they moved armies territory,

III,

great victory over Mitanni at

one hand, close

tactics the

New Kingdom. The

paigns of Thutmose

importance,

its

examination of the battle reveals

mation about the military

and the country's imperial sphere of in-

also the earliest

B.C.,

scholars have devoted considerable

attention to Kadesh.

last

mili-

inscrip-

play-by-play account can be reconstructed.

Not

witnessed the

fluence.

(or Qadesh),

which a

history, for

tary

was

all,

moment

major high point of both the Egyptian

the

Syria circa 1274

only Egyptian

of

detail in reliefs

battle of

this historical

New

perhaps the

battle,

strategic

and

period. Syria

of

(ioods from the

other

was

the

commerce. Aegean [Sea. bor-

world

dering Greece's eastern coast] and

significant

65

Ancient Egypt routes.

From

the

east

and south,

same land routes were used by merchants who brought raw materithese

such as precious metals

als

.

.

and

.

other merchandise from as far afield as Iran .

.

and Afghanistan

Syria.

.

With

and richness

in

its

to trade in

inherent fertility

natural resources,

much

Syria therefore offered

to

predatory powers seeking to use

such wealth for their

By conquering

benefit.

41

large portions of Syria,

Thutmose ensured into

own

that his nation

would tap

and exploit the area's wealth and

sources.

But he faced the same problem

re-

that

pharaohs both before and after him did, namely, that Syria lay some six hundred miles from Egypt's heartland. This was

much too far to facilitate firm Egyptian control for

very long without committing thou-

sands of troops and

settlers to the

region on

a permanent basis, a price the Egyptians

were unwilling and indeed unable Luckily

for

to pay.

them, the once formidable

threat

enacted in the reign of Thutmose IV ush-

in

ancient Syria.

posed by Mitanni receded.

A

These bronze spear and ax heads were

made

treaty

ered in three generations of peace with that

beyond entered

the

kingdom. But other powers would soon

Near East via

make

whose

[Syrian] ports such as Ugarit,

ships dominated maritime trade in the eastern Mediterranean.

Under-

water excavations of

Bronze

Age

ships

.

.

.

show

late

.

.

.

The

—cop-

at

first

major

culprit,

from Egypt's

Hattusas, in the uplands of north-central

Asia Minor. The

power

jewelry, luxury goods,

timber, textiles,

bids for Syrian treasure,

viewpoint, was the Hittite empire, centered

per, tin, chemicals, tools, glass in-

gots, ivory

own

had.

the remarkable

range of goods they carried

their

creating even bigger threats than Mitanni

and foodstuffs. This

merchandise was then distributed

Hittites

had

first

risen to

in the sixteenth century B.C., at

about

the time of the founding of Egypt's

New

Kingdom, and had launched attacks into Mesopotamia and other parts of the Near East. After a brief flurry of activity, they had

throughout the Near East and be-

yond by a network of extensive trade

66

Egypt's Military Zenith: The Battle of Kadesh faded back into obscurity in their homeland.

Asiatics, beating

About 1380

their chiefs

however, the accession of

B.C.,

King Suppiluliumas

new

naled a

burst of Hittite expansion.

moved

This time the Hittites

other,

ital

and sacked

much

like a

found

it

difficult

of Syria; and the scene was

Rameses

Seti's son,

and

II,

set for the

Kadesh between

new

Hatti's

king,

Muwatallis.

cap-

its

Seti

climactic confrontation at

Suppiluliumas drove

buckled.

among them

away. The Hittites soon regained control over

lat-

pressed by the Mesopotamian kingdom

into Mitanni 's heartland

the Hittites, slaying

to maintain Egypt's influence in a land so far

of Assyria on one side and the Hittites on the

down

charging

.

and others had before,

south into

Syria and southeast into Mitanni. That ter,

.

tongue of fire!" 44 However, just as Thutmose

to Haiti's throne sig-

I

.

of Washukkanni. The small states and

walled

cities



of Syria

Ugarit. Carchemish. to the Hittites

one

The response

The Opposing Forces

including Aleppo,

and Kadesh

—now

When Rameses

fell

pharaoh

after another.

by the

to these events

in his twenties

last

few Eighteenth Dynasty pharaohs was tepid or nonexistent. Only

when

Seti

ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty,

I,

came

campaign and

Seti led

an army north

region.

Hittites near

Kadesh. "His

mer of

About 1 290 B.C.

and defeated the majesty

made

scription

on a

1275

a great slaughter." reads an inrelief at

and

filled

with vigor and

up on

to follow

restore

all

father as

his

young man was Seti's

of Syria to the

huge sphere of influence the early New Kingdom pharaohs had maintained in the

to the

throne did Egypt attempt to reassert itself in Syria.

B.C., the

He wished

ambition.

second

succeeded

1279

in

Karnak, "smiting the

his

With

this

goal in mind, in the sum-

the fourth year of his reign (ca.

he

B.C.),

set out

with an army, forged

way northward through

Palestine,

and

Rameses Gathers Military Intelligence They were conducted into the presence

Various surviving Egyptian documents, especially

[of the

pharaoh], and his majesty said to them,

those dealing with the battle at Kadesh,

"Who

the use of military intelligence by

are you?" They said, "The [Hittite king] has

Egyptian armies. In this excerpt from Rameses'

caused that we should come to spy out where

of the Kadesh expedition (quoted in volume 3 of Breasted's Ancient Records of Egypt,), the pharaoh himself ques-

to them, "He!

describe

official

tions

account

two

Hittite spies in

the position of the

an attempt

his

...

to confirm

majesty [the pharaoh]

I

have heard he

Asthere

enemy army.

army, which

[an

Egyptian]

scout

.

.

is."

Said his majesty

he, the [Hittite king]?

is in

the land of Aleppo."

.

.

is] .

.

.

.

[and his

equipped with infantry and

more numerous than the sands of

the shore ... are standing, drawn up for bat-

majesty sat upon a throne of gold, arrived

is

Said they, "See, the [Hittite king]

chariotry his

Where

tle,

.

behind Kadesh the deceitful

[i.e.,

out of

your view on the far side of the town]."

[who] brought two scouts of [the Hittite king].

67

Ancient Egypt captured the Syrian region of Amurru, ly-

ble fighters

He did not And when he re-

ing to the southwest of Kadesh.

encounter a Hittite army.

and

his

army

easily a

match for

that of Egypt.

The

differences in style and tactics be-

turned to Egypt, he was apparently confi-

tween these opposing forces had a major

dent that a second campaign the following

bearing on the events of the impending bat-

year would bring the rest of Syria back

tle

into the Egyptian fold.

Hittites placed a greater

King Muwatallis was not so idated, however.

He

tion

ently.

war declaraforces to meet

his

outcome.

tured Hittite warriors as effeminate (un-

chariot warrior,

army

reality Muwatallis's soldiers

A

Hittite king

his

enemies

relief.

The

centered

inferior,

what

is

and a shield-bearer

tect the fighter. In contrast to

were

to pro-

an Egyptian

who wielded a composite bow and some javelins, his Hittite counter-

in

were formida-

part brandished a thrusting spear.

ancient

Empire,

Turkey, challenged

differ-

it

chariots

three-man crew. This crew consisted of a

mows down

in this

Hittite

in

as

and used

versions were wider, heavier, and carried a

driver, a fighter,

Hatti's

and foremost, the

emphasis on chari-

Whereas Egyptian

Rameses had to be genuinely concerned. Though Egyptian propaganda from this period typically picthe Egyptians near Kadesh.

manly) and

First

lightweight and carried two men, Hittite

Hittite

and began preparing

its

otry than the Egyptians

easily intim-

delivered a message to

Rameses announcing a

and

now Egypt for

control of Syria-Palestine.

68

— Egypt's Military Zenith: The Battle of Kadesh

A

Relief Sculpture of the Battle

In this tract from his Collapse of the Bronze

by their hairstyle

Age, Manuel Robbins describes one of the primary sources of evidence for the battle fought

ties

at Kadesh

ter

is

He

is

—a

relief sculpture at

Luxor (a

reli-

gious complex at Thebes).

Kadesh sculpture at Luxor is a masterpiece of composition and clarity. ... It

Rameses in superhuman

participated in the battle in such a

Syrians by their long

.

.

.

.

Hittite infantry is

way

bottom at the left, the drawn up, rank upon rank.

.

.

.

Forward of them

is

the Hittite chariotry,

charging toward the right and surging around

that the onlooker would instantly recognize

...

each. While hieroglyphic text accompanied

Rameses.

the panorama and explained

larger than ordinary size, yet

much

than Rameses.

is

it,

the designers

knew that many onlookers would be .

.

.

The

illustration

had to

tell

illiterate.

the story.

.

.

At the far

.

.

if

of Kadesh, with battlements and towers. Around Kadesh, the streams of the Orontes

the composition ...

flow.

.

.

.

armed

.

.

tle.

Hittite

is

chariots

turned. Bodies,

with

.

faced away

a quick escape

is

con-

Muwatallis, the Hittite king. In the center of

Just outside the fortress

are assembled,

[warriors]

of

smaller

how the Egyptians present

templated. This

is

left is a figure

His chariot

.

from the action, as

.

In the left center the viewer sees the fortress

[River]

bow

appearance perfect and

his

.

towering over ordi-

in size,

His draw of [his] huge

.

.

... In the right cen-

hair.

his chariot, facing Kadesh.

god-like. Across the

was necessary to show each of the groups

who

effortless

is

.

by long braided

nary mortals.

The

.

beards, and robes, and other nationali-

hair,

of

all

a scene of chaotic bat-

and

them

horses

are

over-

Hittite or Hittite

tumbling through the

...

bows, spears, short swords. These warriors are

allies, are

part of the Hittite forces. Distinct nationali-

a massive slaughter. ... It is the story in pic-

ties are evident.

Hittites can be recognized

The Egyptians used

their missile

if

a shock force designed to crash infantry.

Once

fray, the Hittite chariot warriors

ranks;

To meet

diers



battle-axes,

spears,

swords, by

now

According

all

to

Muwatallis assembled

from some of

this threat, the

Egyptians had about

army was

divided into four large field units

P-Re, Ptah. and Seth act

on

its

own

or

—each

—Amun,

of which could

combine with

the others.

and sickle

The Ruse

fashioned of bronze.)

Egyptian

in that era.

chariots. Per usual, the Egyptian

at-

weapons employed by Hittite foot solwere much the same as for Egyptian

infantry

army

are indeed accurate, they

18,000 foot soldiers and perhaps 2,000

tacked and finished off the enemy. (The chief

numbers

likely included contingents

used their

then the Hittite infantry

told.

the local vassal states under Hittite control.)

in the

spears to stab at foot soldiers and break up their

it

true an unusually large

(If these

at a distance; but the Hittite chari-

headlong into enemy

Rameses wanted

It is

fantrymen and as many as 2,500 chariots

their chariots as plat-

forms from which to launch

weapons ots were

tures as

air.

sources.

At the end of April 1274

King

some 37.000

B.C.,

Rameses

these units into Palestine and stopped

in-

69

in

led

the

Ancient Egypt

Libyan Desert

The Battle of Kadesh

area

now known

as Gaza. There, he divided

continued northward on the usual route

detachment due

taken by Egyptian campaigners in the re-

his forces, sending a small

north with orders to

move along

gion

the coast,

show of force to intimidate the local towns, and meet up with him later at Kadesh. The identity of these troops is unclear and often debated by scholars. Ancient sources call them Ne'arin, which translates as "young men" or "recruits." They may have been an elite force drawn from one or more of the four main Egyptian units. 45

Whoever they were,



east

of the Sea of Galilee and

through the Bekaa Valley. Rameses person-

put on a

army of Amun, which was followed by P-Re, Ptah, and Seth, each separated from the others by a few miles, ally led the

per custom.

Meanwhile,

Hatti's ruler

had hatched a

clever and sinister plan designed to deceive

after

and defeat Rameses. As J.H. Breasted

tells

Muwatallis concealed the bulk of his

own

it,

sending them on their way, the pharaoh

army on 70

the northwest side of Kadesh,

Egypt's Military Zenith: The Battle of Kadesh

Our

The Hittite king now used the city to mask his movements, and as Rameses pushed northward on the west side of Kadesh. the Hittite commander shifted his position rapidly

greatest of the families [allied) with

eastward and southward,

from the

city.

keeping the

city

all

brethren,

the

subjects of Pharaoh,

tite

ih

led

men

message

River

a point not far south of Kadesh, he

sits

[with his army] in the

fears [the

[and

southward."

to cross the

armed might] of

refuses]

to

come

47

who

Rameses fell for the ruse. Reasoning that Aleppo was far to the north and the Hittites

Orontes

well out of range, he led

claimed:

detail from a large carved relief of the battle at Kadesh,

at Thebes,

Egyp-

Amun through

and prepared

encountered the two men,

He

Pharaoh,

to

a forest at

the

"We will be and we will flee

[Hittite king]; for the [Hit-

king]

nip.

false

[i.e..

land of Aleppo, on the north of Tu-

Next, Muwatallis ordered two local

him to carry a Rameses. As the pharaoh

majesty

tian pharaoh], to say:

between him and

loyal to

to his

belong to the have made us

king],

[Hittite

come

the time

the advance of the Egyptians.

A

who

hidden from the Egyptians by the

shows Egyptian arrows devastating

across the

found in Rameses' mortuary temple and horses.

Hittite soldiers

71

Amun

Ancient Egypt Orontes,

camped near Kadesh, and

pared to besiege the



pre-

the truth

army was

that the Hittite

lying in

wait on the far side of the city and preparing

city.

to attack the rear units of the

Charge of the Hittite Chariots

Egyptian army.

that

unwelcome news surely alarmed Rameses. At that moment P-Re had just

spies

crossed the Orontes and was moving, alone

whom Muwatallis had sent to keep watch on

and exposed, across the open plain south of

It

was sometime

in the next

the Egyptians captured

Rameses. Under

few hours

two

torture, the

Hittite

men

This

Kadesh. Meanwhile, Ptah and Seth were

revealed

v

:

;

;^

J>

"•

;

"-'->

etching,

Rameses, astride his

war chariot, heroically pushes his way through the Hittite ranks, killing some and sending others into flight.

72

-'%

.

mm?

In this nineteenth-century

.'-

,'..;"'

v

r -

iiiii

Egypt's Military Zenith: The Battle of Kadesh

still

some miles behind

far side

of the

Hoping

to

on the

in the forest

river.

warn

his unsuspecting troops,

the pharaoh dispatched runners.

But it was mass of Hittite chariots suddenly emerged from behind the town, too

A

late.

crossed the shallow Orontes, and charged into P-Re's unprotected right flank. Totally

unprepared for in that unit

battle, the

Egyptian chariots

were smashed or swept aside by

the heavier, fast-moving Hittite vehicles; at

same

the

time, the unit's infantrymen pan-

icked and fled northward toward the

camp

of Amun. Seeing their comrades approaching at the run. with the

enemy

hot pursuit, the troops of

chariots in

Amun

:>S:

also fell

into confusion.

At

Rameses

this point,

realized that he

had to act quickly to avoid a major defeat.

According

the

to

official

Egyptian ac-

count of the event: "He seized the adorn-

ments of

battle

coat of mail.

.

and arrayed himself .

.

in his

.Then he [went] to his

horses, and led [them] quickly on, being

alone by himself.

He charged

[forces] of the [Hittite king]."

4"

into the

Likely ac-

Rameses smites

companied only by his personal bodyguard of a few chariots and troops, the

the Hittites in another relief

depicting the battle at Kadesh.

pharaoh boldly attacked the enemy chariot corps from the side or

rear.

The

lighter

to

and in

regroup behind their king, and the tide

of battle began to change.

Egyptian vehicles, which could turn easier faster than the Hittite versions, darted

and

out, firing

Reinforcements on Both Sides Now was Muwatallis's turn

arrows and inflicting

heavy damage on Muwatallis's surprised

men. The general

worked swirling

in

state

of confusion

now

it

Trying

the Egyptians' favor. "In the

melee," Healy suggests,

"it

to regain his

to

be alarmed.

momentum, he

sent an-

other large force of chariots across the

is

very possible that the Hittites were not

In all likelihood these fresh troops

aware of the small size of the force attack4 ing them." Encouraged by Rameses' ef-

have sealed the

''

forts,

many of

greatly

the other Egyptians began

fate

outnumbered

of Rameses and his troops.

the Hittite reinforcements bore

73

river.

would

However, as

down on

the

Ancient Egypt because he learned that fresh troops of

exhausted Egyptians, seemingly out of

in part

nowhere the unit of "young men" the pharaoh had earlier sent up the Palestinian coast appeared on the scene. They hurled themselves at the newly arrived Hittite char-

Ptah and Seth were rapidly approaching to

iots,

and soon Rameses joined

bolster the Egyptian ranks.

near the river south of the

in the attack,

first

which pushed back and decimated most of

aged

the

stage of the battle,

it

city.

was

But

like the

largely indeci-

sive.

So Rameses and Muwatallis

these vehicles.

By

The next morning

a second confrontation apparently took place

reluctantly

end of the day, Rameses had man-

agreed to a temporary peace. Both rulers

remnants of P-Re and

returned to their countries and claimed

to regroup the

Amun. King Muwatallis

still

had forces

victory,

in

This tablet bears part of the treaty signed

about 1259

between Rameses

II

and

Hittite king Hattusilis

though

in truth there

was no

clear

winner. Nearly a generation of uneasy

reserve; but he broke off his assault, perhaps

B.C.

the

III.

74

Egypt's Military Zenith: The Battle of Kadesh

Attack and Counterattack excerpt

77775

from an Egyptian account of

before them, northward to the place where

the encounter at Kadesh (quoted in volume 3

[Hittite king]

came, and the numerous

army

Then the

when Rameses signed Hittite king. Hattusilis

doubt the end of an

1259

a treaty with a III.

era.

It

a century both

new

irreversible decline. After

.

.

in precipitous

and

Kadesh, never

again would Egypt launch a major mili-

was without

it.

would be

B.C.,

and not only be-

kingdom could foresee

.

of the Orontes.

tary

cause peace had replaced war; though neither

.

.

in-

fantry and chariotry of his majesty retreated

standoffs ensued until about

his majesty

by himHe charged into the [forces] of the [Hittite king] and the numerous countries which were with him. His majesty hurled them headlong, one upon another into the water

of his majesty while they were it.

.

self.

on the south of Kadesh and charged

marching and not expecting

.

led [them] quickly on, being alone

him. They crossed over the channel [Orontes River]

.

[the approaching enemy], he

.

countries [vassal states] which were with

into the

majesty was.

them

and Rameses' heroic counterattack.

The

When

saw was enraged against them, like his father, Montu [the war god]. ... He seized the adornments of battle, and arrayed himself in his coat of mail. Then he [went] to his horses and his

of Breasted's Ancient Records of Egypt,) describes the Hittite attack on the army of P-Re

campaign

into Syria or experience the

level of international

within half

it

75

power and influence

had enjoyed for nearly three centuries.

HAPTER Six

Warships and the Defeat of the Sea Peoples Egyptians had a long tradition of

The

the

shipbuilding and sailing stretching well

back

into the Predynastic Period. This is not

surprising considering that the Nile

was

dawn of

what appears

the to

New Kingdom

mention

have been an amphibious

at-

tack in a canal adjoining the town. Probably

some small

the

ships or barges ferried troops

central focus of the country's inhabited re-

across the canal, and the defenders on the

gion; and the river served as the principal

battlements attempted to stop

means of

showers of missile weapons.

transporting people and goods

Not until the reign of Rameses III (ca. 1184-1153 B.C.), near the end of the New

over long distances. Early on the pharaohs

and

their generals realized that they

more

them with

could

than over land. Reliefs from the mortuary

Kingdom, do Egyptian sources describe an actual naval battle in which opposing crews

temple of a Fifth Dynasty king, Sahura,

of sailors and marines (soldiers trained to

show a

fight

also transport troops

fleet

easily over water

of vessels carrying his troops

to the coast of Syria-Palestine.

dle and

Many Mid-

New Kingdom rulers used seagoing

troop transports to ferry armies to the

aboard ships) engage one another.

Even then and

for a long time afterward,

such encounters took place in shallow wa-

same

ters

near the Egyptian coast. The Egyptians

region, including the great imperialist Thut-

did not take part in major naval fights far

mose

from home

III.

These boats were not warships ditional sense.

in the tra-

Most evidence suggests

rule

many

until they

came under Greek

centuries after the close of the

New Kingdom.

that

they did not engage in naval battles with

Traveling Ships and

other ships, although they might have on oc-

casion

come under

fire

from

For example, the accounts of Ahmose's sault

Troop Transports

hostile forces.

For more than two thousand years, therefore,

as-

on the Hyksos stronghold of Avaris

Egyptian warships were basically troop

at

76

Warships and the Defeat of the Sea Peoples transports:

and as such they were designed

and constructed

in essentially the

Evidence for what such ships looked

and how they were

same way

as traditional Egyptian boats. In fact, states

noted scholar-artist

built

surviving reliefs and paintings.

Bjom Landstrom, most

of the time

in a

tomb

B.C.

(in the

at

like

conies partly from

A

painting

Saqqara dating to circa 2450 Fifth Dynasty),

for instance,

shows shipwrights busily constructing a they

were probably ordinary Nile

large vessel.

craft

of various kinds. Everything

count of Egyptian shipbuilding and river

from grand and captains

to simpler transports for

rian

craft

functions.

A

could have

many

.

.

.

who

also Herodotus's ac-

was

a

Greek

histo-

lived in the fifth century B.C.

and

traveled to Egypt to study the country and

ordinary warriors [might be called

same

is

navigation. Herodotus

traveling ships for kings

into service to ferry troops].

There

The

its

people firsthand. Although he visited

more than five centuries after the end of the New Kingdom, the natives still employed

different

50

well-preser\'ed relief shows Egyptians navigating the Nile River in reed boats. The Nile

was

the country's

main highway throughout

antiquity.

11

Ancient Egypt

Models of Egyptian boats were commonly placed in tombs to symbolize deceased to Abydos, center of the cult of Osiris, lord of the dead.

most of the same construction techniques had been

that

in use since before the

them with long spikes

advent

gether,

and

Egypt

on

Nile boats used for carrying freight," he be-

tian

gins,

are caulked [a

.

.

.

feet

They

wood. The acacia

form the

it

from inside with papyrus

tough material made from sedge, a

water plant that grew in abundance in the Nile Delta].

cut short planks, about three

gle steering-oar,

long,

from

this

method of construction

tree, is to

and the lay

is

appears that

lotus of Cyrene.

in

the hull

top.

[although

resembles

set close to-

when

The boats have no ribs some Egypvessels did have wooden ribs] and

across

long before and long after his day. "The

are built of acacia

then,

complete, to lay the deck-beams

of the Old Kingdom. Moreover, the kind of vessel Herodotus describes existed in

the journey of the

They are given a sinwhich is driven down

through the keel; the masts are of aca-

them

cia

together like bricks and through-fasten

wood,

the sails of papyrus.

vessels cannot sail

78

These

up the river without

Warships and the Defeat of the Sea Peoples

Tutankhamen's Ships Much of what modern scholars know about ancient Egyptian ships comes from studying

the

miniature versions found in the tomb of a short-lived but famous king, as explained here

by scholar-artist Bjorn Landstrom of the Pharaohs.

in his

Nile,

the other unrigged. Only the

Tomb

Tutankhamen [popularly known as King Tut, who reigned from ca. 1336-1327 B.C.] has been preserved intact until our time, and this of

Ships

contained such models, together with a large

number

of other

model traveling

vessels, per-

haps intended for the royal court. Unlike the Old Kingdom, at least Inperiods, real ships were

placed around the

tombs of the

kings,

some perhaps

in

the form

of sun boats, others as ships of state or royal ships. ... It

is

probable that the kings of the

New Kingdom had with them their royal ships,

This

model

one rigged

ship, which

only models of for

a hurry.

voyages up

shows minute

details

al-

most everything else in the tomb of Tutankhamen, these models are not particularly well executed and seem to have been made in great haste after the king's death. The hull decoration has clearly been done in

during certain

.

.

.

Even so

.

.

.

these models provide

a wealth of interesting details.

of construction, was found

boy-pharaoh, Tutankhamen ("King Tut").

79

in

the tomb of the

Ancient Egypt became so); army when

a good leading wind, but have to be

military (and probably never

towed from the banks; and for drop-

ships simply supported the land

ping downstream with the current

and where necessary.

they are handled as follows: each ves-

Egyptian government began assembling

equipped with a

sel is

raft

made of

and training crews

tamarisk wood, with a rush mat fas-

tened on top of hole through

it

it,

weighing some four

made and

fore

raft

muster a

by the reign

was able to manned by such

naval force

this

may have

aft respectively,

so that the

measure). The normal complement of such

forward by the

it,

sailor

of the

check and gives her

drifting away].

men

men, each trained as both

bows, javelins, and swords.

The natural question is why, after more than two thousand years with no trained naval arm, the Egyptian military saw fit to create one? The answer can only be that it

and boat

There are a great

carrying

51

suddenly perceived an urgent need for specialized sea fighters.

craft

reliefs in-

operated the oars while the oth-

ers fought with

of these vessels on the Nile,

some of them of enormous

fifty

and marine. Evidence from

dicates that under battle conditions twenty

while the

raft

was

a ship

dragging along the bottom

steerage-way [keeps the

Such

that

been a temporary rather than permanent

astern, acts as a

capacity.

is

with ropes,

boats are called) after

many

specifically for naval

certain

of ships

fleet

the

the country

III,

crews (although

and the stone

current and pulls the "baris" (as these

from

is

when

fast to the vessel

raft is carried rapidly

stone,

What

of Rameses

and a stone with a

hundredweight; the are

warfare.

unclear

It is

were generally adequate for

sistent

And

this is quite

con-

with a dramatic series of events that

navigating the river; but scholars maintain

affected not only Egypt but the entire east-

they were not strong and flexible

ern Mediterranean sphere in the thirteenth

that

enough

to

and twelfth centuries

hold up in the open sea, especially

transports that crossed

from the delta

B.C.

—an unexpected

and catastrophic upheaval of unprece-

carrying heavy loads. Therefore, the troop

dented scope. The trouble seems to have

to the

of Egypt, in Asia Minor or

coast of Syria-Palestine under Sahura, Thut-

begun

mose

HI,

beyond, and steadily spread southward.

most

common means was

and others were reinforced. The

Nearly

adding trusses,

heavy rope bindings wrapped

tightly

far north

all

of the leading towns and

cities in

Asia Minor were sacked, burned, and de-

around

the hull at various points.

stroyed, most never to be rebuilt; among them were Hattusas and the other impor-

The Coming of the Sea Peoples

tant Hittite centers, bringing about Hatti's

It is

sudden and

transported were trained to fight at sea; and

most had

little

Palestinian coastal ports

or no skill in sailing the ves-

sels. In fact, the

was not

navy,

if it

can be called

utter collapse. Farther south,

Ugarit and other prosperous Syrian and

unlikely that the warriors these ships

were also plun-

dered and devastated.

At the same time, Egypt came under

that,

yet a separate, formal branch of the

rect assault

80

from the northwest and

di-

north.

Warships and the Defeat of the Sea Peoples

The Catastrophe Circa Historians have advanced

a

number

ravaged

that

sections

of

eastern Mediterranean about 1200

b.c.

large

b.c.

Mediterranean states themselves, which less

of the-

ories to explain the widespread catastro-

phe

1200 civilized peoples

advantage

the

of.

on the periphery then took

And

another view, ad-

still

and brought about the collapse of the Bronze Age

vanced recently by Robert Drews of Vander-

in the region.

Some think that rapid local population growth among the semibarbarous

among these "periphery" peoples suddenly

tribes inhabiting "Eurasia," the vast steppe

the chariot corps that had for centuries been

lands north of the Black and Caspian Seas,

the mainstay of Near Eastern armies.

caused them to migrate southward

these proposed innovations were the

new

of

bilt University,

is

that military innovations

gave their foot soldiers the

in search

lands, destroying all in their path.

tactic of javelin throwers

ability to defeat

Among new

"swarming" chari-

and their crews, thereby neutralizing

The Mediterranean coastal peoples they

dis-

ots

placed then became the Sea Peoples,

who

them; the adoption of better protective

menaced the Egyptians. Another theory

dis-

mor by foot

counts the idea of mass migrations;

it

was caused by and other

collapse,

The

attacks,

The End of the Bronze Age: Changes

by groups of foreigners the

Memeptah, about 1208 B.C., a force with names like ShekeLukka, Tjeker, and Akawasha allied

of Sea Peoples

came in waves, each apparently larger and more threatening than the one before it. A small foretaste came during the reign of Rameses II in the form of raids on the delta by Sherdan pirates. The pharaoh rather eas-

lesh,

ples,

feated

the

also erected a

row of

their families

would

suffice to

ward

and possessions with them,

indicating that they intended to settle per-

manently

managed

de-

in the country.

claimed

But the pharaoh

to defeat the intruders in a pitched

battle near the

fortresses

along the northern coastline, hoping



Egypt from the northwest. They brought

Sherdan into the Egyptian army.

Rameses



themselves with the Libyans and invaded

repelled these small-scale attacks and

some of

to

western side of the delta; he

have killed

six

thousand of them

and captured another nine thousand.

this

During the short reigns of the

off any future assaults

who

that region.

pharaohs

Egypt would have been much better off Rameses had constructed a permanent

of devastation wrought elsewhere

if

much

in

the

Near East by new waves of Sea Peoples must have

navy, for the scope of the threat turned out

be

five

followed Memeptah, reports

on

to

War-

in

b.c.

cessor,

Egyptians collectively called the Sea Peo-

ily

detailed dis-

fare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200

crises within the eastern

eventually incorporated

A

cussion of these theories appears in Drews's

economic

civil conflicts,

ar-

and the introduction of

new, deadly slashing swords.

holds

instead that a large portion of the destruction

soldiers;

filtered into

Egypt.

It is

also quite

possible that small-scale raids by foreigners

greater than he imagined at the

continued periodically

time. In the fifth year of the reign of his suc-

81

in the delta region.

Ancient Egypt and become the

These factors may well have inspired an

settle in Palestine

Egyptian pharaoh, perhaps Rameses

emies of the Hebrews).

III

some kind of naval

himself, to invest in

the delta

paid

fort, it certainly

Rameses' reign

(ca.

1

in-

and marched overland; for Rameses

met and defeated them

Whoever was behind

biblical en-

wave of

first

vaders must have landed well to the west of

pre-

paredness.

The Sea Battle

A

in the Delta

in a land battle.

Not

long afterward, however, more Sea Peoples

approached the delta in

the Egyptian naval ef-

off.

In the tenth year of

176

B.C.),

ships.

A

huge naval

battle occurred, captured for posterity in a

stunning stone relief in Rameses' mortuary

the largest in-

Medinat Habu (near Thebes).

vasion of Sea Peoples to date struck northern

temple

Egypt. This time the foreigners had a new ally

Scholar Manuel Robbins describes the scene,

in their



midst

the Peleset,

believe were the Philistines

whom

which

historians

(who would

at

reveals

the Egyptians

later

much

about the naval tactics

employed

at the time:

A modern rendering of pharaoh Rameses III, who repulsed the invasion of the so-called Sea Peoples in the twelfth century B.C.

'wi//'v^

in) iuni.iM ^l\rm^iM)/^ w/;i>nu^huM u mv/M/i\\lll .

i

i

i

i

l

82

l

l

Warships and the Defeat of the Sea Peoples

A at

of the complex depiction of the great sea Rameses' mortuary temple at Medinat Habit.

detail

The Sea 55

wide and

feet

on

Battle sculptural relief

the north wall of the temple

augmented with

.

.

was

.

plaster

about

is

originally

and

paint.

Here, represented in a compressed

composition

.

.

.

occurred on the

On

near shore. ... the

pharaoh

the

enemy from

.

.

was a clash which water somewhere the right stands

launching shafts

.

at

his unerring bow.

Stretching across the bottom of the

Egyptian

arc

illustration

soldiers,

marching off with Sea Peoples oners.

On

water.

.

among arranged

.

the .

left is

Here there

is

on the

a clash

the other. In each

on the lower

|

which

|

and one

manned by

Two of these Sea

Sea Peoples

who wear

riors

gear

.

.

.

.

.

feathered head-

and two others by those

.

horned helmets.

.

.

.

in

The Sea Peoples

came armed only with close-combat weapons



dirk (daggerlike] swords

and a few lances tal

mistake.

— and

that

The Egyptian

was

forces

a fa.

.

.

had not only close-combat weapons

weapons as well, their The scene shows a tierce

but stand-off

melee

.

left

right are

Peoples ships are manned by war-

three rows, one above

.

there are three

Egyptians, and the rest are those of the

hows.

.

row

a stone relief

in

Three along the

ships.

are

ships in

the battle

pris-

Sea Peoples

battle with the

.

.

oi

.

close

comhat.

Egyptian

— Ancient Egypt

Rameses Vanquishes the Invaders In this inscription from the sea battle relief sculpture at Medinat

Habu (quoted

in

breath,

of J.H. Breasted's Ancient Records of Egypt,), the pharaoh Rameses III is portrayed as an invincible hero beating

when

strand like a warrior.

back the invading Sea

he will

the [peoples of the] northern countries the homelands of the Sea Peoples],

cease

hearts

their

Terror of

a

him pene-

and perishing

weapons

sea. His arrows pierce

are cast out

whomsoever

among them, and he who is like

is

hit falls

an enraged

him that confronts him with

lion, tearing

his

hands; fighting at close quarters on his right,

ways of the [Egyptian

valiant on his

and other Near Eastern] harbor-mouths. Their and

.

into the water. His majesty

in their isles, are restless in their

limbs; they infest the

nostrils

.

souls fly away, and their

which are

like

in their places, their hearts are taken, their

upon the

[i.e.,

.

trates into their limbs. Capsized

Peoples.

Lo,

majesty goes forth

his

storm-wind against them, fighting upon the

volume 4

left,

he has crushed every land

beneath his feet.

breathing

—with

some confidence. The most

boats have their oars out so that they

tory

are able to maneuver, but in the Sea

striking aspect

Peoples boats, oars are shipped

trapped between the Egyptian ships and

[pulled inside the vessels].

They

it

seems.

From

Sea Peoples.

A

down on

were

shore. Archers, both ground-based

and on

the Egyptian ships, poured arrows onto the

a

enemy

crow's nest on an Egyptian ship, a slinger rains missiles

that the invaders

Egyptian archers and other infantry on the

are

unable to maneuver. They have been

caught by surprise

is

boats,

killing

many aboard and

spreading terror and confusion. Then the

the

grappling hook has

Egyptian vessels

moved

in close

and used

been swung out from an Egyptian

grappling hooks to snag the

ship and lands on a Sea Peoples ship.

Egyptian marines boarded and fought hand

The

ship

is

hauled close and a Sea

Peoples fighter lance.

is

to

ships.

they towed the

boats close enough to shore that the infantry

dispatched with a

Another Sea Peoples ship

some cases

hand; or in

enemy

could seize and board them. Those Sea Peo-

is

who were

dismasted, a third capsized. Sea Peo-

ples

ples are in disarray, drowned, dead.

were dragged away as prisoners. One of the

The water

is filled

with them. 52

Medinat Habu inscriptions puts these words in

The

illustrative portions

Rameses' mouth:

of the relief are

Those who reached my boundary, their heart and soul are finished forever and ever. As for those who had assembled before them on the

supplemented by inscriptions. Together, the pictures

not killed in the fighting

and words provide enough

detail to

.

allow historians to reconstruct the event the first well-documented sea battle in his-

84

.

.

Warships and the Defeat of the Sea Peoples flame

sea, the full

the fleet of

[i.e.,

Egyptian warships] was

in

Another

before the harbor-mouths,

front,

and a wall of metal

[the

possibility

that the

is

pretended to surrender without a

their

haps he sent secret envoys

Egyptian

the

Sea Peoples

pharaoh

fight. Per-

to the leaders

of

to say that he feared

them

submit rather than

fight;

infantrymen] upon the shore sur-

and had decided

rounded them. They

they could land and settle in the delta with-

[the invaders]

to

ships'

were dragged, overturned, low upon the beach; [the wretched enemy were] slain and

out interference providing they spared

and

and allowed him

made

their attacks

laid

bow

[into]

of their galleys,

their things

while

was

plea

heaps from stern to

to

keep

likely not without precedent. In

on Near Eastern

coasts, the

Peoples quite probably received

all

were cast upon the wa-

him

Such a

his throne.

many

Sea

offers

of submission from frightened local leaders.

The difference in this case was that Rameses was neither frightened nor actually submit-

ter."

After the invaders had taken the

ting.

bait,

he

Careful Planning Saves Egypt

sprang his dap and annihilated them.

What

It may never be possible to know exactly how the Egyptians trapped their opponents. What is certain is that Rameses' victory,

and inscriptions unfortu-

the reliefs

nately leave out

able to lure the

how the Egyptians were enemy into the trap. The

is

clever and precise positioning and coordi-

though important to Egypt

nation of the Egyptian naval and land forces

was a mere stopgap measure

could not have been a spontaneous develop-

Some

ment or

fortunate accident.

The

trap

and

As

were the

result

battle at

Kadesh, military intelligence must

of careful planning.

tine, the last

long term.

and Tjeker,

settled in Pales-

remnant of Egypt's once large

Asiatic sphere of influence.

in the

in the

of the surviving Sea Peoples, particu-

larly the Peleset

subsequent victory, which saved Egypt,

in the short run,

Soon these

set-

took control of the region, shutting the

tlers

pharaoh's spies, perhaps paid informants

By the reign of the last New Kingdom pharaoh (Rameses XI, 1099-1069

among

B.C.),

have played an important

the

enemy

forces,

Egyptians out.

role. Either the

were able

to pin-

Egyptian ships were no longer able to

wood and

point the area of the delta where the Sea

get regular supplies of cedar

Peoples planned to land: or the spies, or

products from the area. Egypt's military and

other parties working for the pharaoh con-

political

vinced the invaders to land there, luring

and

them

would continue.

into a trap.

85

might had clearly passed

other

their prime,

in the centuries to follow their decline

Epilogue

Decline of the Egyptian Military Egypt's

political strength

New Kingdom,

during most of

most

telling

was an

inability to

keep up

both internally as a

with material and technological changes

country united under a single ruler and ex-

occurring across most of the Near Eastern

the

ternally as a great international power,

been largely based on

its

had

successful mili-

tary ventures in Syria-Palestine.

When

tunes.

its

military

During the two

followed the

and

iron swords



for



Egypt was

battlefield.

that

it

had no native supplies

mainly from western Asia; but by the

and

and trade contacts

the profession of soldiering lost the presti-

try's influence

area were at a low ebb.

As

relied

on foreign mercenaries

army rate,

ranks;

even a

man

tendency to leave the army and military

the

became a second-

matters in the hands of foreigners rather

power; and eventually

than native Egyptians. Nubians, Libyans,

came to dominate among them Assyrians, Per-

Sherdan, and others had long been recruited

Egypt

steadily

third-rate

a series of foreign rulers the country, sians,

to

Greeks, and Romans.

fight as ethnic

units in the army,

Paid Soldiers

he and the

political decline.

Among

later

Ramesside

Rameses

rulers

III,

allowed

some of the remnants of the Sea Peoples

Several reasons can be cited for Egypt's

and

of

course. Similarly, in the years following the

defeat of the Sea Peoples by

An Emphasis on military

in that

Even more problematic was a growing

a result, local rulers increasingly to

start

of the Third Intermediate Period, the coun-

gious status they had held for several centuries.

distinct

The problem

of iron. That metal had to be imported,

the Third In-

the military

and spearheads had a

advantage on the

political for-

termediate Period (1069-747 B.C.) and Late

Period (747-332 B.C.)

to replace

bronze versions; and armies equipped with

the

historical eras that

New Kingdom

particular,

and weapons began

iron tools

country's influence in that region began to

wane, so did

and Mediterranean spheres. In

the

settle in

86

Egypt and recruited them

to

into the

Decline of the Egyptian Military army. For the most

part,

these groups were

commanded by Egyp-

tians

following custom,

and adequately controlled by the

imported Libyan mercenaries

were led by

became a

fewer and fewer native Egyptians be-

came

interested in military service; conse-

quently, the foreign units within the

became dominant, while

the

foreigners

princes.

who had

.

.

.

They

acquired impor-

tance in the past had done.

thing of the

past,

own

did not adopt Egyptian names, as

state.

But as major military expeditions and glorious conquests

their

wore an teristic

army

They

ostrich feather, the charac-

decoration of their people,

proudly on their heads. Distributed

government

throughout the country

in garrisons

increasingly hired mercenaries to supple-

reserved for them, their generals as-

ment

sumed more power as the [central power of the] monarchy and the administration became increasingly

their ranks. In the early years of the

Third Intermediate Period, as Sheikh 'Ibada al-Nubi explains.

n

r\

King Assurbanipal

was the

m ond Assyr-

ian ruler to control

Egypt He defeated Taharqo, the reigning

pharaoh, who fled

southward

X7

to

Thebes



.

Ancient Egypt They became princes and

uncertain.

official priests

of the local gods,

own. In 674

their

an Assyrian king,

B.C.

Esarhaddon, invaded Egypt and managed to

ef-

Memphis, and

fectively taking over the king's pre-

subdue the

rogatives [exclusive powers and privileges]. Finally, one of their num-

most of the countryside surrounding

Sheshonq

ber,

I,

known

is

as

month. "Without cessation

it

I

in

slew

multitudes of his men," Esarhaddon later

ascended the throne,

what

initiating

less than a

capital, then at

said about the Egyptian king, Taharqo.

the

"Libyan" dynasty. 54

Memphis, Even before

the advent of the

Libyan dy-

his royal city, in half a

day, with mines, tunnels, assaults,

...

I

nasty (945-715 B.C.), the country had be-

besieged,

I

come

with

His queen, his harem, his

politically

fragmented. Throughout

two major

the Third Intermediate Period,

power bases claimed

have the legitimate

to

.

.

fire.

captured

I

burned

sons and daughters, his property

.

and

his goods, his horses, his cattle,

pharaoh

—one

in the Nile Delta, the other in

his sheep, in countless numbers,

Thebes.

And

at various times, individual

carried off to Assyria.

asserted local

cities

independence and

power. The military was similarly frag-

Despite this

mented, with local princes commanding

found

their

own

small armies, which sometimes

fought one another.

for the

Esarhaddon

success,

maintain control over

the proud Egyptians.

Two years after the de-

parture of the

main Assyrian army, Taharqo,

fled far to the south, returned, re-

captured Memphis, and staged a full-scale

Assyrian

Army

The

changed somewhat

situation

initial

difficult to

it

who had

No Match

I

55

While on

rebellion. at the start

when

way back

his

to quell this disturbance,

Egypt

to

Esarhaddon died

a dy-

unexpectedly and his son, the crown prince

nasty of Nubian kings pushed their

Assurbanipal, succeeded him. Assurbanipal

north and took control

way of much of Lower

made

Egypt. The country was

still

not completely

entered Egypt, where, according to his an-

of the Late Period (747

B.C.),

reunified, as several local rulers their

own

against the

new

held

still

way through

his

Syria-Palestine and

nals:

pharaohs. But the

Nubian kings gained enough power and

Taharqo, king of Egypt

confidence to attempt something bold

the advance of

to reassert

Egyptian influence in Syria-

Palestine. Unfortunately for them,

by

this

time the Assyrian Empire had grown very strong and begun to intrude into the

same

So the new Egyptian foray into Palestine came to nothing. Worse still, the warlike Assyrians saw that the Egyptian army was no match for region.

my

and mustered

phis,

sur

.

.

.

battle.

.

heard of

Mem-

armed

men

resist-

With the help of As-

[and other Assyrian] gods

who advanced his

.

his fighting

against me, offering

ance and

.

army, in

army

plain. ...

at

my

in a battle

He

forsook

fled to Thebes.

56

.

.

side, I defeated

on the open

Memphis and

a

Decline of the Egyptian Military

Assyrian Military Advances Many

of the

weapons

of the formidable

fire off volleys of

Assyrian army that invaded Egypt were

arrows.

Rows

of hundreds

who in battle made up the

or thousands of these pairs,

similar to those used in the late second mil-

moved forward

lennium b.c, although some of the tactics

mainstay of the Assyrian infantry. Assyrian

had changed. The principal Assyrian weapon was the bow, most often utilized in the

chariots featured a similar arrangement

main tactical

field

unit

— the

unison,

in



and archer standing behind a protective screen mounted on the vehicle's front. driver

archer pair.

This consisted of two men, the first a spear-

However, by this time chariots had become

dagger-man bearing a very large shield, the top of which curved up and back to form a kind of canopy to protect against incoming arrows and other missiles. Made of tightly packed bundles of wicker bound with leather, such shields were light but very sturdy. The second man, the archer, who huddled with his companion behind the shield, used a powerful composite bow to

secondary to cavalry, which at

or

When

cient Assyrian

Thebes, he fled again and ers then took

show two horsemen One holds the own and his partner's

together.

his

the

allowing

hands to

fire a

bow.

killed or injured,

partner to If

one

rider's

and

ride to safety.

absorption into the classical

Oth-

both

use

horse was

he could quickly jump on

his partner's horse

the Assyrians pursued Taharqo to

died in exile.

of bo f h

horse,

the

reliefs

along

galloping reins

first, like

operated in two-man units. An-

infantry,

Greco-Roman

world.

up the cause of Egyptian inde-

and Romans

pendence, including his son, Tanuatamun,

Persians, Greeks,

and the leader of a new dynasty, Psamtek

Using these Greek mercenaries, the Egyp-

I.

home,

after

most of

from greater powers

their forces

which Psamtek succeeded

them, but to no

in

ruler,

Psamtek

army

to

A

patriotic,

realized he

needed a strong

its

institution

ticular,

he hired Greeks, mostly from western

in

Egypt

(later called

around

B.C., the

In par-

recruits, the

Greek

that

when Alexander

III

"the Great"), a Macedonian-

Greek king, entered

mainly by native Egyptians, however, he cast

wide for foreign mercenaries.

fell

500s

of Asia Minor. Persian rule was so un-

popular

manned and commanded

his net

avail. In the late

main source of military

cities

in-

vaders at bay. Instead of re-creating a military

and

Assyrian realm, conquered both Egypt and

well-meaning

keep the Assyrians and other

that rose

Persian Empire, which had supplanted the

driving the remaining Assyrian occupiers out

of the country.

independence

tians tried to maintain their

Eventually, a rebellion in Babylonia forced the Assyrians to call

the country in

332

B.C.

as part of his conquest of Persia, he

was wel-

was an

illusion,

comed

as a liberator. This

Asia Minor. This marked the beginning of

however. Alexander soon died and one of his

Egypt's political dealings with and eventual

leading generals. Ptolemy, hx)k control of

89

Ancient Egypt Egypt and established a Greek dynasty Ptolemaic (332-30

Under



or grandparents having settled in the country.

the

The

B.C.).

the Ptolemies,

now encom-

of the greater Greek world that

as a whole.

doms,

To defend against other Greek kingthe

military.

it

izens in India in the 1800s

was made up mainly of im-

These military and

wisdom of

supplementing paid soldiers with native-bom troops, thereby reestablishing a

new

militarily

officers at

most

levels

remained Greeks,

A

of

tury B.C.,

who

states

bust of Alexander III (later

called "the Great"), the

young Macedonian Greek king

who

the Persians in the late

liberated Egypt

fourth century

B.C.

90

impotent in the face

dominance over the

And by

the

Rome had conquered all

entire

first

the

cen-

Greek

except for Egypt, which more or less

cowered

virtue of their parents

from

cit-

and early 1900s.)

social distinctions be-

politically

rise to

Mediterranean world.

that the vast majority

were natives merely by

and

of Rome's

presti-

gious military institution.

The problem was

and paternalism

came a moot point in the long run, though. As time went on, Ptolemaic Egypt became

ported Greek mercenaries, as before; but over

time the Ptolemaic kings saw the

inferior to

of British officers over native soldiers and

government maintained a strong

At first

was

(Some modem scholars have used

the analogy of the authority

passed the entire eastern Mediterranean sphere.

status of ethnic Egyptians

Greeks, both in the army ranks and in society

Egypt became part

in its

shadow.

— Decline of the Egyptian Military

A

seventeenth-century engraving of the battle ofActium,

in

which Julius

C

>pted

son, Octavian, defeated Cleopatra, the last independent ruler of Egypt.

Then

Greece; and the following year Cleopatra

the last of the Ptolemies, as well as

and Antony committed suicide. To the

the last independent Egyptian pharaoh

Cleopatra VII

— made

ceeded

bid to reassert her country's former greatness. Allying herself with a

Roman

civil

in

so

to it

make Egypt was

a province of

Rome.

that the military establish-

his rival,

ment of an independent Egypt, whose

war. In 31 B.C.,

proud traditions stretched back with only a

however, she and Antony went feat

And

powerful Ro-

man, Mark Antony, she opposed Octavian, in a

dis-

pleasure of most Egyptians. Octavian pro-

a bold eleventh-hour

down

few brief interruptions

to de-

a large naval battle at Actium, in

millennia,

91

for

more than

now simply ceased

to exisi.

three

Notes Introduction: Fighting to Keep

8.

the Dark Forces at Bay 1.

et al.

9.

Chicago:

University of Chicago Press,

Quoted

Miriam Lichtheim,

in

1990,

A Book

cient Egyptian Literature:

al-Nubi, in Donadoni, Egyptians, p. 158.

Quoted

vol.

Donadoni,

Egyptians,

New 12.

al-Nubi,

4.

Quoted in James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. Princeton: Prince-

in

p. 152.

ton University Press,

1

969,

p.

13.

Quoted Eastern

7.

in

Pritchard,

Texts, p.

Lands

ological Study. Hill,

New

Quoted

J.H.

in

Breasted, ed., An-

New

York:

1962, vol. 2,

15.

Mark Healy, Armies of the Pharaohs. Oxford: Osprey, 1992, pp. 9-10. Quoted in Breasted, Ancient Records,

16.

Quoted

in

Breasted, Ancient Records.

vol. 2, p. 34.

78. 17.

Yadin,

Art

of

Warfare,

vol.

1,

pp. 86-87.

228.

in the

p. 73.

vol. 2. p. 30.

Ancient Near

Yigael Yadin, The Art of Warfare Biblical

1,

pp. 6-7. 14.

MA: p.

Yadin, Art of Warfare, vol.

Russell and Russell,

Andrea M. Gnirs, "Ancient Egypt," in Kurt Raaflaub and Nathan Rosenstein, eds.. War and Society in the Ancient and Harvard University Press, 1999,

6.

Lit-

Haven: Yale University Press,

cient Records of Egypt.

262.

Medieval Worlds. Cambridge,

The

Chapter Two: The New Kingdom and Chariot Warfare

Chapter One: Early Egyptian Weapons and Warfare 5.

ed.,

An Anthology

1973, pp. 61-62.

103-104. 3.

W.K. Simpson,

of Stories, Instructions, and Poetry.

pp.

1,

in

erature ofAncient Egypt:

of

1975-1976.

Shaw, Egyptian Warfare and Weapons,

11.

Readings. Berkeley: University of California Press,

UK:

10.

An-

ed.,

and

Warfare

p. 25.

p. 151. 2.

Egyptian

Buckinghamshire,

Shire Publications, 1991, pp. 36-37.

in

Sergio Donadoni, ed., The Egyptians,

Robert Bianchi

Shaw,

Weapons.

Sheikh 'Ibada al-Nubi, "Soldiers," trans.

Ian

18. Gnirs,

in

York:

"Ancient Egypt,"

in

Raaflaub

and Rosenstein. War and Society,

Light ofArchae-

McGraw-

19.

Quoted

in

and Weapons,

1963. vol. l,p. 44.

93

p.

Shaw, Egyptian Warfare pp. 41 -42.

85.

Ancient Egypt Armies

20. Healy,

the

of

Chapter Four: Borders, cations, and Sieges

Pharaohs,

p. 21.

21. Robert

Drews, The End of the Bronze

Age: Changes astrophe ca. Princeton

in

36. Peter Connolly,

B.C.

University

Princeton:

Press,

p.

37.

1993,

Quoted

in Breasted,

Quoted

39.

in Breasted,

Quoted

40.

in Breasted,

in Breasted,

Ancient Records,

Quoted

in Breasted,

42.

1, p.

66.

Ancient Records,

185-86.

Deuteronomy 20:19-20.

41. Yadin, Art of Warfare, vol.

Ancient Records,

184-85.

vol. 2, pp.

at

pp. 293-94.

vol. 2, pp.

Ancient Records,

vol. 2, p. 184.

24.

1,

38. Yadin, Art of Warfare, vol.

Ancient Records,

vol. 2, p. 183.

23.

Rome

274.

Quoted vol.

pp. 127-29. 22.

Greece and

War. London: Greenhill Books, 1998,

Warfare and the Cat-

1200

Fortifi-

Quoted

in Yadin,

1,

p. 97.

Art of Warfare,

vol.

1,

p. 99.

Chapter Three: Military Service

Chapter Five: Egypt's Military Zenith: The Battle of Kadesh 43. Mark Healy, The Warrior Pharaoh:

and Organization 25. al-Nubi,

in

Donadoni,

Egyptians,

pp. 171-72.

Rameses

Armies of the Pharaohs,

26. Healy, p. 17.

44.

Armies of the Pharaohs,

27. Healy,

and

the Battle of Qadesh.

Quoted

in Breasted,

p. 9.

Ancient Records,

vol. 3, p. 72.

p. 24.

28.

II

Oxford: Osprey, 1993,

Quoted

in

45.

Alan R. Shulman, Mili-

Some

scholars speculate variously that

these fighters consisted of part or

and Organization in the Egyptian New Kingdom. Berlin: Verlag Bruno Hessling, 1964, p. 108. tary Rank, Title

the

army

unit of Seth, or that they

all

of

were

a crack force of Palestinian soldiers

who

Shulman, Military Rank, pp. 23-24. 30. Quoted in Breasted, Ancient Records,

fought as an ethnic unit in the

29.

vol. 3, pp.

31.

Quoted

in

Egyptian army. 46. Breasted, Ancient Records, vol. 3,

52-53.

pp. 129-31.

Shulman, Military Rank,

47.

p. 108.

32.

Quoted Quoted

in Breasted,

Quoted

Ancient Records,

Ancient Records,

48.

in Breasted,

Ancient Records,

Ancient Records,

49. Healy, Warrior Pharaoh, p. 53.

27-28.

in Breasted,

Ancient Records,

Chapter Six: Warships and the Defeat of the Sea Peoples

vol. 3, p. 28.

35. al-Nubi,

Quoted

vol. 3, p. 146.

in Breasted,

vol. 3, pp.

34.

in Breasted,

vol. 3, p. 144.

vol. 3, p. 27.

33.

Quoted

in

Donadoni,

Egyptians,

50.

p. 178.

94

Landstrom, Ships of the Pharaohs: 4000 Years of Egyptian Bjorn

.

Notes

5

1

Garden

NY: Dou-

bleday. 1970. p. 108.

Epilogue: Decline of the Egyptian Military

Herodotus. Histories, trans. Aubrey de

54. al-Nubi.

Shipbuilding.

Selincourt.

New

City,

York: Penguin, 1972.

pp. 164-65. 52.

53.

in

Donadoni, Egyptians.

p. 180.

55.

Quoted

in

Daniel D. Luckenbill,

ed..

Manuel Robbins. The Collapse of the Bronze Age: The Story of Greece, Troy, Israel, Egypt, and the Peoples of the Sea. San Jose: Authors Choice Press.

Ancient Records of Assyria and Baby-

2001. pp. 284-86.

p.

Quoted

in Breasted.

Chicago:

lonia.

Chicago York:

Ancient Records,

56.

Press,

Greenwood

95

of

New

Press. 1968, vol. 2,

227.

Quoted

in

Records, vol.

vol. 4. p. 39.

University

1926. Reprint,

Luckenbill, 2, p.

293.

Ancient

Glossary archaeology: The study of past tions

and

An

bronze:

civiliza-

fighters

their artifacts.

alloy (mixture) of the metals

copper and together

inscriptions:

to hand.

Letters and

into stone or

tin.

composite bow:

can board the other ships and

hand

fight

A bow made

pieces

by gluing

of wood,

sinew, and horn; composite

rial.

intelligence: In the military context, infor-

bows had

mation gathered by one side about the size, quality,

nary "simple" bows.

of the other.

The notched

khopesh:

ancient and medieval structures; the

troduced into Egypt near the beginning of the New Kingdom. mace: A club used in warfare. pharaoh: The king of ancient Egypt.

notches, which the defenders used for are

called

between

openings

which they

merlons; the

through

them,

fired at attackers, are the

one family dealing

with

materials,

distributing

men and

supplies,

and

standard: The symbol of an army or army

An

alloy of gold

and

A

Near Eastern

battle-ax hav-

epsilon ax:

unit, usually carried into battle

silver.

it

tst:

A

high nonmilitary official

administered

ships to hold

them

closer,

them

the

kingdom

for

who the

pharaoh.

grappling hooks: Devices thrown or shot

pull

term describing a large army unit

vizier:

let-

ter epsilon.

enemy

A

during the Old Kingdom.

a shape

roughly resembled the Greek

by a

standard-bearer.

ing three tangs projecting from the

back of the blade, giving

and

surface.

other administrative tasks.

ancient

Egypt.

onto

flat

charge of keeping track of

in

line.

specifically

from a

scribe: In the Egyptian military, an officer

series of rulers belonging to

Egyptology: The branch of archaeology

that

stone sculpture partly raised into

three dimensions

A

electrum:

A

relief:

crenels.

dynasty:

movements, and/or plans

A throwing spear. A short, sickle-shaped sword in-

javelin:

effect in the

battlements of forts, castles, and other

protection,

words carved

other durable mate-

animal

greater elasticity and range than ordi-

crenellation:

some

yoke:

fast

A

device for attaching a horse's har-

ness to a chariot or wagon.

often so that

97

For Further Reading George Hart, Ancient Egypt. Time-Life, 1995.

A

New

lustrated introduction to the

Don Nardo,

York:

very colorfully

wonders

of ancient Egypt for young readers.

Age

of Rome.

to the Fall

A

York: Kingfisher, 1995.

somely mounted book

A

2002.

Press,

overview of Egyptian

general

civilization,

with an emphasis on history, aimed

Hazel M. Martell, The Ancient World: From the Ice

Ancient Egypt. San Diego:

KidHaven

il-

at

basic readers.

New

,

Egyptian Mythology.

Berkeley

Aimed

Heights, NJ: Enslow, 2001.

very hand-

at

intermediate readers, this book retells

that briefly ex-

amines the various important ancient

some of

civilizations, including ancient Egypt.

myths, including the story of Osiris's

Anne

1995.

Aimed

book by

Copper Beach Books,

at

basic

readers,

a noted scholar

is

ancient Egyptian

how, and by

short but

built,

pyramids and

NTC Contemporary

New

Don Nardo,

were

beautiful

target audience

is

grade

level

of

Cleopatra.

San Diego:

Press, 2001.

The reading

ed.,

Greenhaven

Publishing,

this

volume

is

challenging for

grade school students but well worth

impressive double-page

the effort. In a series of short essays,

spreads of specific eras and aspects of

everyday

life.

noted scholars

known about

Highly recommended.

David Murdock. Tutankhamun: The

Life

and

Kindersley,

1998.

A

beautifully

illus-

examination of an Egyptian ruler

who died young and was only to become famous

later forgotten,

in

modem

nearly

tell

all

that

is

famous queen and her

this

exploits.

Kelly Trumble,

Death of a Pharaoh. London: Dorling

when

many

Egypt contains many maps and

also several

trated

the pyramids

school readers.

2000. This excellent book about ancient

whom

The

York:

2002. Tells when,

supported by

pictures.

life.

Neil Morris, Atlas of Ancient Egypt.

York:

New

,

Franklin Watts,

this

brightly illustrated and filled with interesting facts about the

most famous Egyptian

murder by Seth. Pyramids of Egypt.

Millard, Mysteries of the Pyramids.

Brookfield, CT:

the

Cat Mummies.

Mifflin.

and nicely

illustrated

why

were important

cats

Egyptian society

times

99

1999.

volume

and how

were mummified.

scholars unearthed his tomb.

An

Houghton

in

Boston. unusual thai tells

ancient

these animals

Major Works Consulted Modern Sources

This extremely informative and hand-

Sergio Donadoni, ed.,

some volume

The Egyptians.

Trans. Robert Bianchi et

al.

tailed essays

Chicago:

University of Chicago Press, 1990.

each of

about ancient Egypt has a

and accurate

Egyptian warfare by noted Middle

Tbada

scholar Sheikh

al-

Changes

beautiful

by

in

mous

scholar-artist Peter Connolly.

main

interest for the

purposes of

Drews

The

also

at

best avail-

weapons and

Mark

summarizes the

trated, like other

books

military series, this

Highly rec-

A History ofAncient Egypt.

ration of the

Trans. Ian Shaw. Oxford: Blackwell,

ers the

An outstanding scholarly study of

Ox-

in the

Osprey

one begins with

Hyksos and inaugu-

New Kingdom

and cov-

major aspects of the Egyptian

military in a straightforward, easy-to-

ancient Egyptian history.

read manner.

Warfare Facts

of various

Healy, Armies of the Pharaohs.

the ejection of the

ed.,

tactics

ford: Osprey, 1992. Beautifully illus-

ommended.

New York:

who summa-

Near Eastern peoples.

Age

and Near Eastern kingdoms collapsed

World.

Edinburgh University,

rizes the

why many Greek

in the period in question.

John Hackett,

"The

Watkins, of the archaeology department

various theories for

Nicolas Grimal,

is

Of this

Warfare and the Catastro-

able general overview of Bronze warfare.

the fa-

Beginnings of Warfare" by Dr. Trevor

University Press, 1993.

Sir

The

illustrations are

End of the Bronze Age:

ca. J 200 B.C. Princeton: Princeton

1992.

historians,

tackles the military de-

volume on Egyptian warfare

Nubi.

Robert Drews, The

phe

whom

cient people or empire.

long, detailed, insightful tract about

Eastern

a collection of long, de-

velopment and methods of a single an-

This excellent collection of authoritative essays

is

by world-class

in the Ancient

On

,

File, 1989.

II

100

The Warrior Pharaoh: Rameses

and

the Battle of Qadesh. Oxford:

Major Works Consulted Osprey, 1993. In general terms,

volume covers some of

the

mass population move-

sion of the

this

same

ments and invasions

that

brought vari-

ground as Healy's other book on the

ous peoples of southern Europe and

Egyptian army (see above) but goes into

the northern

voluminous

with the Egyptians near the close of

detail

Qadesh

tion at

about the confronta-

(or Kadesh). This

most detailed nonscholarly look

is

the

the

Works

on

the

(see

and Weapons.

Buckinghamshire, UK: Shire Publications, 1991.

Additional

ative

Consulted).

Bjom Landstrom, 4000

topic

into collision

New Kingdom.

Ian Shaw, Egyptian Warfare

at this

pivotal battle since J.H. Breasted's '903 classic

Near East

in a format

Ships of the Pharaohs:

A

brief but highly inform-

overview of the subject, presented

and language suitable for

Years of Egyptian Shipbuilding.

students and general readers.

A

Alan R. Shulman, Military Rank,

Garden

City,

NY: Doubleday,

1970.

very thorough, extremely well-illustrated

Organization

description of ancient Egyptian ships, in-

dom.

cluding warships. Highly

recommended

in the

Egyptian

Title,

and

New King-

Verlag Bruno Hessling,

Berlin:

1964. Distributed in the United States

A

for those interested in ancient nautical

by Argonaut Publishers, Chicago.

lore.

scholarly examination of ancient Egypt-

Kurt Raaflaub and Nathan Rosenstein, eds.,

War and

ian

Society in the Ancient

and Medieval Worlds. Cambridge,

Lands

is

1963.

utilized

McGraw-Hill,

very large, comprehensive,

weapons and warfare

in Palestine

and

neighboring lands, including a great

Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and in

Ancient Times.

deal on the Egyptian military.

Princeton:

is

Princeton University Press, 1992. This useful

A

New York:

and well-illustrated study of ancient

by Andrea M.

Gnirs.

Israel

soldiers, supple-

Light of Archaeological

in the

Study. 2 vols.

by an ancient people. The selection on Egyptian warfare

and

Yigael Yadin, The Art of Warfare in Biblical

noted historians, each summarizing

methods of warfare

officers

quotations.

MA: Harvard University Press, 1999. An excellent collection of essays by the basic

army

mented by numerous primary source

study covers,

among

text

supported by numerous photos of ar-

chaeological sites and

other

The

artifacts.

Highly

recommended.

things, the Egyptian military expedi-

tions into Palestine

and

Ancient Sources

their political

J.H. Breasted, ed.. Ancient Records of

consequences.

Nancy K. Sanders, The Sea Peoples: War-

Egypt. 5 vols.

riors of the Ancient Mediterranean,

Russell, 1962.

1250-1 150

B.C.

Hudson, 1985.

Herodotus, Histories.

London: Thames and

A

New

Selincourt.

thoughtful discus101

York: Russell and

Trans.

New York:

Aubrc\ dc

Penguin.

( \

)12.

Ancient Egypt Holy

Bible.

Revised Standard Version.

New York: Thomas

1926. Reprint,

Nelson and Sons,

James B.

1952.

Miriam Lichtheim, Literature:

Berkeley:

ed.,

University

York:

Greenwood

Pritchard, ed., Ancient

Near East-

em Texts Relating to the Old Testament.

Ancient Egyptian

A Book of Readings.

New

Press, 1968.

2 vols.

Princeton: Princeton University Press,

of California

1969.

W.K. Simpson, Ancient Records

cient Egypt:

The Literature of AnAn Anthology of Stories,

of Assyria and Babylonia. 2 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,

Instructions,

and

Press, 1975-1976.

Daniel D. Luckenbill,

ed.,

ed.,

Poetry.

New

Yale University Press, 1973.

102

Haven:

.

Additional

Works

Consulted William Y. Adams, Nubia: Corridor to Africa.

ranean.

London: Penguin, 1977. Paul G. Bahn, ed.. The Cambridge Illustrated

History of Archaeology.

Cambridge University J.H.

New

Study

Strategy.

London: Thames and Hudson, 1995. Michael A. Hoffman, Egypt Before the

Press, 1996.

Known

Chicago: Oriental

A

Pharaohs: The Prehistoric Founda-

Military

tions

Institute,

John Keegan,

Lionel Casson, Ancient Egypt.

New

York:

York:

Civilization. Austin:

A

History of Warfare.

Random House,

and Rome

cations," Journal

at War.

London: Greenhill Books, 1998.

A. Lucas and J.R. Harris, Ancient Egyptian

cient Egyptians. Turin, Italy: Fratelli

Materials and Industries.

Pozzo, 1971.

NY: Dover Roland A.

R.O. Faulkner. "The Battle of Megiddo,"

New York: Cam-

Graham Philip, Metal Weapons of the Early and Middle Bronze Ages in Syria-

"Egyptian Military Organization," vol.

Palestine. 2 vols. Oxford:

39, 1953.

"Egyptian Seagoing Ships," Jour-

Inter-

Manuel Robbins. The Collapse ofthe Bronze Age: Tfw Story of Greece. 7/m, Israel.

1940.

Charles Freeman, Egypt, Greece,

B.A.R.

national Series, 1989.

nal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 26,

Civilizations

Oliver, Africa in the Iron Age, ca.

bridge University Press, 1975.

Journal of Egyptian Archaeology,

,

Mineola,

Publications, 1999.

500b.c. wa.d. 1400.

vol.

28, 1942. ,

Fortifi-

of Egyptian Archae-

ology, vol.51, 1955.

The Military Art of the An-

Journal of Egyptian Archaeology,

New

1993.

A.W. Lawrence, "Ancient Egyptian

Time-Life. 1965.

Silvio Curto,

of Egyptian

University of Texas Press, 1991.

1903.

Peter Connolly, Greece

York: Oxford University

Roberta L. Harris, The World of the Bible.

York:

Breasted, The Battle of Kadesh: in the Earliest

New

Press, 1996.

and Rome:

Egypt,

and

the Peoples of the Sea. San

Jose: Authors

of the Ancient Mediter103

Choice

Press, 2(X)1

Ancient Egypt Ian

Shaw and

Study of the Ancient Near East.

Paul Nicholson, The Dictio-

nary of Ancient Egypt. Harry N. Abrams, 1995.

David P. Silverman,

ed.,

New

Trans. Donald G. Schley. Grand

York:

Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans,

Ancient Egypt.

New

1994.

Anthony

York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

H.W.F. Saggs, Civilization Before Greece

and Rome.

tary

New Haven: Yale University

tians.

Press, 1989.

Spalinger, Aspects of the Mili-

New

the Hyksos," Journal

of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, vol.

Egyp-

Chester G.

Starr,

A

World.

New

York: Oxford University

Wolfram von Soden, The Ancient Introduction

to

History of the Ancient

Press, 1991.

John Warry, Warfare

10, 1979.

An

the Ancient

Haven: Yale University

Press, 1982.

Alan R. Shulman, "Chariots, Chariotry, and

Orient:

J.

Documents of

Norman:

the

Press, 1995.

104

in the Classical World.

University

of

Oklahoma

1

1

1

Index Actium, 9

Ahmose,

boats,

24, 27-28,

30

76-80

body armor, 34

Alexander the Great, 38, 89-90

booty,

Amenhotep

bow, 19-20, 23, 89

II,

45

Amosis. See Ahmose

Amun Amun

see also composite

(army), 46, 69, 70, 71, 74 (god),

49

Breasted, J.H. Hittite tactics discussed by,

1

Ancient Near Eastern Texts (Pritchard),

Kadesh

Ancient Records of Egypt (Breasted), 37,

tactics

Rameses

75,84

Rameses

archaeology, 66, 79, 82, 84

89

in,

III

recorded

bow

by,

37

and military intelligence

II

discussed

45

recorded by, 75

Nubians described

Antony, Mark, 9

see also arrows; bow; composite

70-71

inscriptions discussed by, 16,

22,30

archers, 61,84,

bow

67

victory over Sea Peoples

in,

84

rations given to soldiers described in,

50

Armageddon, 38

bronze, 27, 34

armor, 34

Bronze Age, 69, 81,86

army. See military arrows, 20,

Buhen, 54, 57, 58

61,84

Asia Minor, 66, 80 Assurbanipal (king), 88-89

cataracts of the Nile,

Assyria, 65

cavalry.

See chariot; harnessed horse

Assyrians, 86, 88-89

chariot,

29-32, 68-69, 72-73, 89

Aswan, 54

Cleopatra VII, 91

Ay

Collapse of the Bronze Age (Robbins),

(pharaoh), 45

54

69 baskets.

64

composite bow, 33-34, 68, 89 Connolly, Peter, 54

battering rams, 61 battle-ax,

18,24,36,61

copper, 105

1

8,

34

1

Ancient Egypt epsilon ax, 24

Drews, Robert, 36, 38, 81

End of the Bronze Age: Changes Early Egypt

wars

Esarhaddon

23

in,

in,

22 in, 19,

discipline of military in, in,

B.C.,

88

(king),

espionage. See military intelligence

clothing of soldiers

Hyksos

War-

The (Drews), 81

border forts civil

in

fare and the Catastrophe ca. 1200

Early Dynastic Period. See Early Egypt

33-34

Eurasia, 81

24

26

food, 50

isolation of, 15

foreign mercenaries. See mercenaries

organization of military of, 20-22,

fortifications

24-25

commanders

pharaoh as god/hero reasons for war

in,

23

in,

combat

warlords

in,

weapons

of,

in,

23

Nile River and, 56

22-23

physical layout of, 56-58

17-20, 23

trade protection and,

archaeological findings of,

54

conquerors

of,

86

fortifications of, of,

water supply and, 58

16

forts.

Gaza, 69-70 Gnirs,

1

and, 89-91

Andrea

M,

15, 31

gods, 11,42,46

grappling hooks, 84

historic eras of, 12

Greco-Roman

86

civilization,

Greeks, 86, 89

Nile River and, 76 political

fortifications

54

43-44

53

Greco-Roman World iron and,

See

frontiers,

structure of,

geography

in,

54-56

58-60

walls of,

economic

58-60

54-56

locations of,

22

Egypt borders

of,

gate defenses of, 58

15

role of military in society of,

single

56

of,

enclosure walls

fragmentation

of,

Grimal, Nicolas, 27

88

population size of, 35 property ownership religion of,

in,

43-44

Hackett, John, 19

harnessed horse, 27

11,42,46

Roman Empire

Hatshepsut (queen), 34

and, 90-91

shipbuilding and, 76

Hatti,

67

Egyptians, 11, 13-14,85

Hattusilis

Egyptian Warfare and Weapons (Shaw),

Healy, Mark, 28, 65-66

III,

helmet, 34

21,56 106

75

89

8

1

Index Herodotus, 77-78, 80

Merneptah, 81

of Ancient Egypt (Grimal), 27 Hittites, 65-75

Mesopotamia,

Horemheb

Middle Kingdom. See Early Egypt

History-

(pharaoh), 43^44,

kings), 25, 26, 27,

66

metals, 18

50

Hunters' Slate Palette, 19-20

Hyksos (shepherd

19,

military

28

47-48

administration of,

benefits of serving

commanders

imperialism, 27 infantry.

See military

intelligence.

discipline in,

in,

49, 50

46 49-5 in,

drawbacks of participation

See military intelligence

in.

Iraq.

See Mesopotamia

foreign soldiers and officers

iron,

86

fragmentation

Iron Age, 86

importance leaders of,

42^44

45-46

organization of, 46-47, 48

68

javelin. 20. 36.

punishments for rule violation

Ramose (pharaoh), 26 Kamak, 49, 66

scribes of,

47^48

upward mobility and, 43

Keegan, John, (sickle sword),

in,

50-51

Kadesh. 65, 69-74, 75

khopesh

49

88

middle class emergence and, 43-44

63-64

Jaffa.

of,

of,

49-51

in,

36

see also short sword; sword

military intelligence,

67

Military Rank,

and Organization

the Egyptian

Titles,

New Kingdom

48,49 ladders,

Mitanni (kingdom), 38, 40, 65, 66

60-61

Landstrom, Bjorn, 77, 79

Montu (war

Libya. 43. 81

Muwatallis (king), 67-75

god), 42

Libyans, 17.35.86 loot,

Narmer. See Menes

49

Lower Egypt,

navy, 82-84, 85, 91

1

Near

Luxor, 69

East.

See Mesopotamia; Palestine;

Syria

mace

New Kingdom,

(club), 17, 18

26, 27

Medinat Habu, 82, 84

Nile Delta, 25, 88

Megiddo, 38^0, 58-60

Nile River. 54-55, 56,

Memphis, 10,21,46,53,88

Northern Corps, 46

Menes

al-Nubi, Sheikh Ibada, 10-1

(pharaoh), 10, 53

43-44,51

mercenaries, 86-88 107

in

(Shulman),

76-80

1.

13, 22,

1

Ancient Egypt Nubia, 16-17

Sea Peoples, 80-85, 86-87

Nubians, 16-17, 34, 55-56, 86, 88

Senusret

I,

Senusret

III,

23 55

See Senusret

Octavian, 91

Sesotris

Old Kingdom. See Early Egypt

Seth (army), 46, 69, 70, 73-74

outposts. See fortifications; frontiers

Seti

63-64

Pepi

I,

ships,

76-80

Ships of the Pharaohs (Landstrom), 79

16

86

Philistines,

23-24

short sword,

pharaoh, 10, 45, 45-46

Shulman, Alan, 48, 49

82

siege warfare, 54,

58-63

Sinuhe, 22, 23

pirates, 81

Plato, 8

slaves,

P-Re (army), 46, 69,

70, 72,

Pritchard, James, 22,

30

Psamtek

56

shield, 19

82

Persians,

Ian, 21,

Sherdan, 35, 81,86

Palestinians, 25, 35 Peleset,

I

49, 66

I,

Shaw, Palestine, 54,

I.

I,

74

49

soldiers.

See military

Southern Corps, 46

89

spear, 36,

68

Ptah (army), 46, 69, 70, 73-74

spies.

Ptolemy, 89-90

Suppiluliumas, 67

See military intelligence

Sutekh. See Seth

Qadesh. See Kadesh

sword, 17-18

Ra

Syria,

see also short sword

42

(god),

Rameses

I,

Rameses II, 45, 67-75, 81 Rameses m, 76, 80, 82, 86 Re. See P-Re;

65-67

see also Mesopotamia

45

Taharqo

Ra

(king),

Tanuatamun

88

(king),

Robbins, Manuel, 69, 82-84

Thebes, 25, 46, 88

Romans, 86 Rome, 90-91

Thutmose

I

Thutmose

II,

Thutmose

III

60-6

scribes,

34

leadership talents of,

Megiddo

scaling ladders, 60-61 scouts,

(Thutmosis), 29, 34

bravery of, 45

Sahura (king), 76, 80 saps,

89

Palestine victory of,

65

47

territorial

108

46

victory led by,

expansion

38-40

62-63 of,

65

Index treaty-making

Thutmose

IV,

of,

Upper Egypt, 10

66

66

Tombos, 29

Warfare

tombs, 15, 79

in the

Ancient World (Hackett),

19

Trojan Horse, 62

warships. See boats; navy; ships

Trojan War, 52

Washukkani, 67

troop transports, 77-78

White Wall, 53

tunnels. See saps

Wilson, John A., 30

Tut (king). See Tutankhamen

Tutankhamen, 79

Yadin, Yigael,

109

1

8,

24, 56, 61,

87-88

7

Picture Credits © Hulton/ Archive by Getty Images, 47 © Charles & Josette Lenars/CORBIS,

© Roger Wood/CORBIS © Paul Almasy/CORBIS, 57 © Archivo Iconografico, S.A./CORBIS,

Cover image:

©

71

© Erich Lessing/Art Resource,

18,23,28,31,32,42,66 Bettmann/CORBIS, 62, 63, 91

12, 35,

51,74,83

Borromeo/Art Resource, NY, 21, 79

North Wind Picture Archives, 36, 82

© Bojan Brecelj/CORBIS, 43

© Gianni Dagli Orti/CORBIS,

Culver Pictures, 61

Werner Forman Archive,

26, 29, 39,

44, 59, 68, 73, 77, 87

© Christine Osborne/CORBIS, 54

Dr. E.

Strouhal/Art Resource, 46

Werner Forman Archive, The

British

Scala/Art Resource

NY,

1

© Stock Montage, Inc., 24, 33, 72 © Sandro Vannini/CORBIS, 34, 90 © Roger Wood/CORBIS, 55

Mu-

seum London/ Art Resource, 78 Giraudon/Art Resource, NY, 20, 37

I

I

About

the Author

Historian and award-winning writer

Don Nardo

has written or edited numerous

books about the ancient world, including Life in Ancient Athens, Greek and Roman Sport, and The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Ancient Rome. His studies of ancient and modern warfare include volumes on Greece, Rome, medieval times, the Revolutionary War, the the Pacific. Mr.

War of

Nardo

1812, the Mexican- American War, and World

lives

with his wife, Christine, in Massachusetts.

112

War II

in

dHi^d

the History of

Weapons and Warfare

changing nature of warfare and how

human

societies. In

it

has affected various

each volume, the warfare of a pivotal

The words of actual participants in ancient, medieval, and modern wars, as well as noted historians of the past and present are used to people or era

is

examined

in detail.

describe beliefs about war, strategies, battle formations, infantry, cavalry, siege,

and naval

tactics,

and the

lives

and

experiences of both military leaders and ordinary soldiers.

Each volume's value as a learning

tool

is

further

enhanced by

informative sidebars, footnotes, an extensive annotated bibliography, and an index.

Titles in the series include:

Ancient Greece Ancient

Rome

The Civil War The Middle Ages The Native Americans

LUCENT«

BOOKS

Lucent Books of companies

is

an imprint of The Gale Group,

Inc.,

part of the

Thomson Learning

family

— dedicated to providing innovative approaches to lifelong learning.

THOMSON *

GALE

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