Egyptian Army and Weapons
Posted on 22nd December 2020
Egypt was surrounded on three sides by desert which was a natural deterrent to enemies invading the country; for this reason, Egypt did not maintain a fulltime army.
Governors (Nomarchs) of each district (Nome) had their own individual volunteer army that would only come together in times of conflict. In the later period following invasion, Egypt decided to maintain a complete army.
Being a soldier was not classed as a high-ranking position in society, therefore armies were normally manned by the lower classes; people with no trade, farmers and slaves. In later periods when Chariots and the Navy were added to the army, more high-ranking and well-respected positions appeared.
Pharaoh was the ultimate head of the army; with two generals working under him. The Pharaoh would often lead the army consisting of Infantry, Chariots and Navy into battle.
The wearing of armour in the Egyptian army was rare due to the hot climate; the soldiers mainly defended themselves with their shield. Egyptians used many weapons over the early, middle and later periods.
Main weapons used:
The Bow and Arrow - Used through all the periods of Ancient Egypt. In early Egypt the longbow was made of wood, later, to improve flexibility, a composite bow made from horn and wood melded together was used. Arrowheads through the ages were made of stone, obsidian and finally iron.
Sword (Khopesh) - A thick, curved blade about 2 feet (60 cms) in length used as a slashing weapon. There were two different styles of khopesh; the most common one had a hook at the end for grabbing the enemy shield away from the soldier, the other had a pointed end used for stabbing.
Battle Axe - Constructed in bronze with a crescent shaped blade connected to a wooden handle used as a slashing and hacking weapon.
Spear - Cheap to make and widely used by the army. Shorter in length than spears used by other countries at the time with a wooden handle and spearhead. The spearhead evolved over time made from stone, obsidian and iron.
Throwing Stick - Not a strong weapon, but well thought of and well used. It was unlikely to kill, but could incapacitate a person and be used as a distraction weapon.
Sling - Small and easy to carry it was popular with the men. Used mainly at long and medium range.
Chariots -. A two-wheeled carriage that appeared in the later period, pulled by one or two horses. One soldier controlled the horses, the other fought with his weapons. Bow and Arrow, spears and throwing sticks were popular weapons on chariots.
Tagged as: Junior Ancient Egypt
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