Ancient Egyptian Military Campaigns
The ancient Egyptian military had numerous battles and wars that secured Egypt as one of the greatest ancient civilizations of all time. Here are some of the most famous ones.
The Unification Battle
This is probably the first recorded battle in ancient Egypt.
This battle marks the beginning of the dynastic period in approximately 3100 BCE, with King Narmer waging war on the separate regions and combining them to form a unified Egypt with himself as its first true pharaoh.
This battle is recorded on the Narmer Palette which is now on display at the Cairo Museum.
The Hyksos Battle
After large scale immigration of people from Syria and Palestine, Egypt began to divide again during the Second Intermediate Period. These immigrants began to gain a lot of power and eventually started to rule Egypt.
But then during the 17th Dynasty, King Seqenenre Tao II had had enough and attacked the Hyksos king, Apophis.
After he died in battle, his son Kamose took up the offensive and returned most of Egypt to the Egyptians before he died. His brother Ahmose I then took over and finally expelled the Hyksos out of Egypt and back to Palestine and then reinforced the eastern borders.
During the New Kingdom, with the newly-created permanent ancient Egyptian military, the pharaohs began campaigns to expand Egypt’s borders and gain more land and power.
During the 18th Dynasty, King Thutmosis III and his step-mother Hatshepsut ruled Egypt together. He was an infant when he was made king, so Queen Hatshepsut took over the throne and ruled Egypt for about 20 years until he matured and was able to take the power back.
His main achievements were his expansion battles that turned Egypt into an empire. The Battle at Megiddo being the first and most famous of the series.
At the time it was a coveted Assyrian town of trade, and was the site where the King of Kadesh was assembling an army to march against Egypt.
Thutmosis III took the ancient Egyptian military all the way to Megiddo, and although the enemy outnumbered the Egyptians, he faced them in his chariot with his men behind him and came out victorious.
After the enemy fled, the Egyptian army was left to collect the booty left behind… this distraction could have given the Assyrians time to recollect and attack again, but King Thutmosis III gathered his men and led a long siege of Megiddo and finally took over.
Ancient Egyptian Military Campaign Against the Hittites
King Thutmosis III was involved in war with the Hittites throughout most of his reign. The Hittites were an ancient Anatolian people whose empire covered parts of modern-day Turkey, Syria and Lebanon.
There were several campaigns against them and they spanned many years and reigns of different kings.
After the expansion battles of King Thutmosis III, there was a period of relaxation and a few uninspired kings took succession. During that time, Egypt began to lose power again and its borders began shrinking.
But then came King Seti I. And after a few battles he took over the city of Kadesh again. It was such an important place for trade that whoever controlled it would prosper. But his victor was short-lived and the Hittites repelled him back to Egypt.
Seti had too many other battles on his mind to obsess over Kadesh. He had to defend Egypt against the Nubians from the South and Libyans from the West.
King Seti’s son, however, became a legend in ancient Egypt.
Ramesses II led the offensive against the Hittites again. And although the ancient Egyptian military was outnumbered and had many obstacles, they won.
After the many years of war and hostility, the Egyptians and Hittites decided the best course of action was peace. They signed one of the first peace treaties in recorded history.
Unfortunately, the peace didn’t last very long…
All in all, Egypt was plagued with invasions and wars for much of its existence. Invasion continued by land and sea until Egypt lost its might and gave in to the Graeco-Roman rulers at the end.
Egypt never saw an Egyptian as its ruler again until ADE 1953 when an army general became the first president of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
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