Min menu


Ancient Egyptian Military

Egypt is of the countries in Africa and the Middle East. The ancient name for Egypt is Kemet meaning 'black land'. It had obtained its name owing to the fertile black soil found on the plains of the Nile river which flows through Egypt. Egypt is also known for its historical monuments like the Giza pyramid complex and even the Egyptian civilization holds a lot of importance. Egypt is a country which has political and cultural significance for the Middle East. 
Egypt derived its English name from various sources like the French word Egypte, from Latin Aegyptus and ancient Greek Aigyptos. The military was responsible to protect Egypt against outside invasion and also to maintain Egypt's control in the ancient Near East region. Military also protected mining voyages during the Old Kingdom period. It even fought civil wars, maintained fortifications. There were forts which were specially built to establish a military base there.

Ancient Egyptian Military

Standing army was used in the New Kingdom period. The military men used bows and arrows, spears, shields with round tops made from animal skin as their weapons. Chariots were used in the New Kingdom. These chariots were initially known to have used by the Hyksos intruders.  After bronze came to be used, there was an improvement in the weapons and armors of the Egyptian military. 

 The old shields were not replaced by those made out of solid wood that had a bronze buckle, even spears had bronze points. The use of Khopesh was also known. It was borrowed from the Asian soldiers. Another way to raise one’s status was in the military. Before the Middle  Kingdom, Egypt did not have a regular army. Soldiers were drafted  when they were needed. Each nome had to send a specific number of  men.
Military leaders were citizen soldiers, not professionals. During Egypt’s imperial age, however, military service became  a profitable career. Professional officers were rewarded with tax free  estates, livestock, gold, ceremonial weapons, and comfortable retirement jobs. During the New Kingdom, Egypt had two large armies divided into  four divisions. They were stationed permanently in Upper and Lower  Egypt. 
The army included infantry (soldiers who fight on foot), scouts  (who go ahead of the army to check out the situation), charioteers (who  fought from chariots), marines (who fought from land or on boats),  and archers (who used bows and arrows). Officers successfully used  strategies, tactics, and innovations introduced by the Hyksos, including  horses and chariots. New Kingdom soldiers were a privileged, prosperous class. During  peacetime, they lived in military communities. 
Soldiers returning from  battles were rewarded with land, livestock, and peasants to farm their  land, which they could keep as long as at least one member of their family remained on active duty. A military career was one of the few paths to status and wealth  for a poor young man.  Even common soldiers shared in battle loot,  including cattle, weapons, and other items taken from defeated peoples.  
Ahmes Penekhbet, a soldier who distinguished himself in battle against the Hyksos and Asiatics, won armbands, bracelets, rings, two golden  axes, and two silver axes. He also received the “gold of valor” six gold  flies and three gold lions from the king. Most Egyptians were unwilling to go abroad for military expeditions. 
They were terrified that if they died outside Egypt, their bodies  would not be properly mummified or buried, and the proper prayers and  spells would not be said at their funerals (if they even had funerals). If  that happened, they would lose their chance at eternal life. So even at the  height of empire, much of the army was made up of mercenaries (soldiers  for hire) and troops from conquered lands, especially Nubians.  Late Period armies were mostly Asiatics and Greeks. Slaves and  foreign captives often won their freedom by joining the army.