CAIRO – 9 December 2020: The Egyptian army is one of the greatest fighting forces in the ancient world during the New Kingdom period (1550 BC - 1070 BC), and it became so thanks to its use of advanced weapons.
In its early history, Egypt's army relied on weapons of simple stone scepters, wooden-tipped spears, axes, bows and arrows to fight tribesmen from neighboring countries.
Then came the Hyksos, who are an invading army from the side of Syria that occupied Egypt since about 1650 BC, with significantly superior weapons such as fast chariots and powerful compound bows.
During foreign colonization, the Egyptians closely studied their enemy and built an arsenal of new lethal weapons. This is when Ahmose I liberated and reunified Egypt.
He became the first pharaoh of the New Kingdom, the golden age in which Egypt used its advanced and effective weapons to expand the empire and achieve wealth.
ET will shed light on the nine main weapons that led the Egyptian army at the height of its power, according to what was reported by the History website.
The core of the armament of the Egyptian army, like most ancient armies, was spears, armed with a wooden shield in their left hand and a spear with a bronze head in their right. The Egyptian "spearmen" were advancing on the enemy in tightly packed formations. The length of the spear allowed the Egyptian fighters to duel their enemy beyond the relative safety of their armor. The bronze tip was stiff and sharp enough to penetrate the skin armor of enemy infantry, a time when metal was so precious, all you needed was a small piece of bronze at the edge.
In close combat, the Egyptian spear was a short spear about a meter long. New Kingdom soldiers carried spears on their shoulders like arrows. At close range they were using the spear to press the enemy behind their shields.
They could also fire armor piercing spears to attack vehicles or infantry lines. The Egyptians did not treat the spear as a canon that could be discarded like an arrow, they attached their spears to metal blades and made them easier to aim and throw.
The battle ax was a secondary weapon tucked into a warrior's belt or suspended from his shoulder, in earlier periods of Egyptian history. When the enemy did not wear armor, the blades of the battle axes were semicircular or crescent-shaped, designed to inflict deep, chipped wounds on an unprotected body.
Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a distinctive Egyptian weapon, referred to as a scepter, which is one of the oldest weapons on Earth. Starting in 6000 BC, the Egyptians armed themselves with simple straps made of a wooden handle topped by a heavy stone head.
During the New Kingdom, they improved the design by adding a curved blade embedded in a solid wood head.
Swords and daggers were not a common Egyptian weapon before the Hyksos introduced advances in bronze casting, only then could the short swords be made powerful enough to withstand the rigors of battle. Since bronze is not the strongest metal, some swords were cast into a single solid piece, both the blade and the handle, to provide additional strength.
Perhaps the most famous Egyptian weapon from the New Kingdom era is the bowed sword. The distinctive blade of the sword looks like a question mark.
Before the invasion of the Hyksos, the Egyptians relied on the "self" bow. It is a simple bow and arrow weapon made from a single piece of wood.
However, the Syrians introduced them to the compact power and precision of the compound bow. It is a complex and expensive weapon made from layers of wood, animal horns, and strings that have been "hardened" to generate great force. The compound bow became the Egyptian super weapon.
The charioteer was the fastest and most feared war machine. It was the Hyksos who introduced the Egyptians to lightweight wooden wheels with flexible leather flooring to absorb shock. However, it was the New Kingdom of Egypt, with its enormous wealth, that deployed squadrons of heavily armed vehicles on the battlefields.
The average Egyptian soldier in the New Kingdom army did not wear many protection methods on the battlefield. They might have worn simple fabric rolls stiffened with animal glue.