Weapons in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt civilization existed at around 3150 BC,in the region of Eastern North Africa. Projectile weapons were used by the ancient Egyptian army, as well as other period military, as standoff weapons, usually used in order to soften up the enemy prior to an infantry assault. At various times during Egypt's history, different weapons were used, including throw sticks, spears or javelins, bows and arrows and slingshots.

Weapons in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian Bow and arrow

The bow and arrow is one of ancient Egypt's most crucial weapons, used from Pre dynastic time into the Christian and archaic Islamic periods. It was a ranged weapon which caused a projectile to leave the soldier and strike a target. Some of the first bows that we know of were the "horn bows", made by joining a pair of antelope horns by a central piece of wood.

Ancient Egyptian Bow and Arrow

By the beginning of the Dynastic Period, we find bows that had a single curvature and were made of wood and strung with sinews or strings made of plant fiber. In the pre-dynastic period bows frequently had a double curvature, but during the Old Kingdom a single-arched bow, known as a self (or simple) bow, was adopted. These were used to fire reed arrows fletched with three feathers and tipped with flint or hardwood, and later, bronze points. The bow itself was usually between one and two meters in length and made up of a wooden rod.

Ancient Egyptian Sword

Swords were used for cutting and stabbing. Swords of different lengths were used in battles in ancient Egypt. The blades were made of copper or bronze and attached to wooden handles. Many swords belonging to the pharaoh, or wealthy people were decorated with carved scenes, precious metals and valuable stones.

Ancient Egyptian Swords

Ancient Egyptian Spear

Consisting of a shaft, usually of wood, with a sharpened head and used as a thrusting weapon or as a missile. The spear was versatile - cheap to produce and easy to use requiring limited training. The spear does not fit comfortably into either the close combat class or the projectile type of weapons. 

Ancient Egyptian Spears

During the Old and Middle Kingdom of Egypt's Dynastic period, it typically consisted of a pointed blade made of copper or flint that was attached to a long wooden shaft by a tang. However, in the New Kingdom, bronze blades became more common, attached to the shaft by means of a socket. These conventional spears were made for throwing or thrusting, but there was also a form of spear (halberd) which was fitted with an axe blade and thus used for cutting and slashing.


Ancient Egyptian Chariot

Chariots were introduced after the Asian Hyksos armies invaded the Delta during the period of the Middle Kingdom.

Ancient Egyptian Chariots

Ancient Egyptian Knives

Many knives made of flint, copper, and bronze have been found in Egypt. Knives were used as weapons, but also as tools in everyday life for cutting rope, or animal hides.

Ancient Egyptian Mace

Stone mace heads were replaced with iron, copper and bronze. It was used as an efficient close contact weapon even from horseback. It was a powerful weapon which could be deadly if the person using it was strong enough.

Ancient Egyptian Sling

Sling was the oldest of Egyptian weapons. As the slings were cheap and made of perishable materials, only a few ancient slingshots have survived. One of its advantages was the easy availability of ammunition in many locations. 

When lead became more widely available during the Late Period, sling bullets were cast. These were preferred to pebbles because of their greater weight which made them more effective. They often bore a mark.

Ancient Egyptian Throw Stick

The throw stick does appear to have been used to some extent during Egypt's pre dynastic period as a weapon, but it seems to have not been very effective for this purpose. 

Yet, because of their simplicity, skilled infantry continued to use this weapon at least with some regularity through the end of the New Kingdom. It was used extensively for hunting fowl through much of Egypt's dynastic period.

Ancient Egyptian Shields

Since the early Egyptian times the only weapon used for protecting the body of the soldiers during war was the shields. It is the earliest known protective armor.

Ancient Egyptian Shields

The shields during ancient Egypt were rectangular in shape and were made from cowhide or ox hide. These shields were stretched over a wooden frame. In the early Egyptian period shields were of the same height as that of a man. 

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