History Embalmed

Ancient Egyptian Military

The fertile Nile Valley attracted invaders from other territories where there was famine and drought. The West Delta of the Nile was threatened by these desert raiders. The East Delta of the Nile was threatened by invaders from Asia - first the Hittites from Palestine and Syria. The Hyksos were also invaders from Asia, who reached Egypt via Syria and Palestine invading the Delta at the end of the Middle Kingdom. The Hyksos brought with them new bronze weapons and the chariot and horse, neither of which were known to the Egyptians. Following the wars with the Hyksos the weapons and style of fighting changed to incorporate the use of the chariot and new weapons.

The Mitanni also mounted invasions from northern Mesopotamia. To the North the Mediterranean Sea was at risk from the interest of Europe which eventually brought the armies of the Greeks under Alexander the Great and the Romans under Julius Caesar. And to the south was the barren lands of Nubia with its valuable trade routes bringing treasures from the Sudan. The Egyptians built fortresses in the most vulnerable of areas and these were manned by the Ancient Egyptian Military. But a standing army was also required not only for defence but also to make pre-emptive strikes against their enemies.  

Ancient Egyptian Military
The Ancient Egyptian Military consisted of an army and a navy. To understand the need for the Ancient Egyptian Military it is necessary to take account of the surrounding areas of Egypt and potential threats to the Kingdom.

Ancient Egyptian Military - the Weapons
The Military was equipped with a variety of Ancient Egyptian Weapons which, by the period of the New Kingdom included the following:

  • Sling
  • Mace
  • Spear
  • Battle Axes
  • Bow and Arrow
  • Swords
  • Scimitars
  • Daggers
  • Chariot

The Size of the Ancient Egyptian Army
Information is available regarding the size of the army during the rule of the Pharaoh Ramses II aka Ramses the Great (1279 BC 1213 BC) who was a Pharaoh of the 19th Egyptian Dynasty of the New Kingdom. Approximately 1 in 10 men were initially conscripted into the military. However, the rewards such as pensions and grants of land given to soldiers, led to volunteers entering the military seeking riches, respect and advancement.

  • Size of Army - 20,000
  • Divided into 4 divisions of 5000 who were named after the gods Seth, Amun, Ptah and Re
  • Each division divided into 20 companies
  • Each company consisted of 250 soldiers
  • Each company divided into 5 platoons of fifty men

The Hierarchy of the Ancient Egyptian Military
The Hierarchy, or chain of command, of the Ancient Egyptian Military was as follows:

Ancient Egyptian Military Chain of Command

Commander  - The Pharaoh or Pharaoh's Son

Seth Division
Commander in Chief
Company Commanders
Platoon Commanders
Charioteers
Foot Soldiers

Amun Division
Commander in Chief
Company Commanders
Platoon Commanders
Charioteers
Foot Soldiers

Ptah Division
Commander in Chief
Company Commanders
Platoon Commanders
Charioteers
Foot Soldiers

Re Division
Commander in Chief
Company Commanders
Platoon Commanders
Charioteers
Foot Soldiers

Ancient Egyptian Military
Each section of this Egyptian website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about the Golden Age of Egypt. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of Egypt, the Ancient Egyptians and of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, King Tut.

Ancient Egyptians

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