The Egyptian Empire was one of the longest-lasting in the ancient world, and it was largely kept together by military force rather than diplomacy.
The Egyptian Empire was one of the longest-lasting in the ancient world, and it was largely kept together by military force rather than diplomacy. Its great wealth encouraged invasions such as those by the
To combat these ever-present threats, the Egyptians did maintain a large army and navy. However, the chief innovations of Egyptian military thought were more in strategy and tactics than in weapons development. Although Egyptian military armaments remained relatively unchanged for millennia, the Egyptians’ emphasis on indirect engagement and speed of movement–more than cultural conservatism–accounts for this lack of innovation.
Egyptian armies, from an early period,
A nineteenth century representation of an Egyptian chariot team of driver and archer.
Pointed, and sometimes barbed, Egyptian arrows caused deep wounds. Broad, and sometimes flat-tipped, Egyptian arrows caused stunning injuries. Arrow tips were made from flint, horn, wood, and bone; copper tips had appeared by the time of the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055-1650
A variety of staves and
As in hunting, so in warfare,
Old Kingdom Egypt,c. 2686-c. 2125
The earliest Egyptian chariots had wheels with four spokes. During the middle of the Eighteenth Dynasty, six spokes became standard. Egyptian chariots had a cab with a D-shaped floor plan; a curved wooden banister at waist level in front stretched back and down to the rear floor. The light bodies could be partially closed with wood or leather sidings. Floors of rope or leather mesh absorbed the shock of rough terrain. Side-mounted cases held bows and arrows and, from the time of the Nineteenth Dynasty, spears.
The infrequently attested use of mounted troops was primarily as reconnaissance patrols and couriers. Many of these cavalry troopers were Nubians. Roads and remount stations were maintained for these patrols.
Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt,c. 1550-1295
Supposed evidence for stone-throwing machines from the Twenty-fifth Dynasty (747-656
Climate and Egyptian emphasis on speed of movement and flanking maneuvers through the deserts flanking the Nile Valley discouraged the development of body
Middle Kingdom soldiers, as revealed by mummified remains at
Early Egyptian forces were divided between
As the primary role for the Egyptians was defense,
Middle Kingdom Egyptian forts in
By the time of Thutmose
A network of patrol roads, camps, and watch posts stretched through the Western Desert during the Middle Kingdom, and the Theban Seventeenth Dynasty (c. 1580-1550
Unlike the Nubians, the Egyptians never permanently occupied Asia. In the northeast, Egypt supported the lesser of two conflicting powers, thereby seeking to create buffer states that, with Egyptian aid, might oppose a third power, but could not alone pose a threat to Egypt.
Amphibious infantry landings are known from the late Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period. During the Seventeenth Dynasty,
When invasions of marauding
Considering the importance of
The considerable accomplishments of the ancient Egyptians in the realm of
However, although these manuscripts have not survived, there are numerous scenes and inscriptions recounting military activity which do survive, the earliest from the late Gerzean Period (c. 3500-3200
In addition, many actual weapons, and even some chariots, have survived. Some of those, such as the throwing sticks in the tomb of
Some contemporary written accounts exist from non-Egyptian sources. These include the
Drews, Robert. The End of the Bronze Age. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993. Fields, Nic. Bronze Age War Chariots. New York: Osprey, 2006. Healy, Mark. Armies of the Pharaohs. New York: Osprey, 1992. _______. New Kingdom Egypt. New York: Osprey, 1992. _______. Qadesh, 1300 B.C. New York: Osprey, 1993. Shaw, Ian. Egyptian Warfare and Weapons. Princes Risborough, England: Shire, 1991. Spalinger, Anthony John. Aspects of the Military Documents of the Ancient Egyptians. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1982. Wachsmann, Shelley. Seagoing Ships and Seamanship in the Bronze Age Levant. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1998. Yadin, Yigael. The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands in the Light of Archaeological Study. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963. Antony and Cleopatra. Film. Transac, 1972. Cleopatra. Film. Twentieth Century-Fox, 1963. Egypt Golden Empire. Documentary. Lion Television, 2001. The Egyptian. Film. Twentieth Century-Fox, 1954. Ramses: Favorite of the Gods. Documentary. Time-Life Video, 1997.
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