Since the beginning of man's existence, war and violence have always been a significant part of human society. Kingdoms and kings engage in battles and wars for various reasons ranging from resources, protection, or the sheer purpose of exerting dominance. For a community to live in peace and experience economic development, such a society had to possess a powerful military.
Ancient Egypt was one of the wealthiest and most technologically advanced civilizations of the ancient world. As you might have guessed, they had to continually fight off enemies that wanted to take over their land. Like every other nation at that time, ancient Egypt also sought to take over lands belonging to other countries and thus had to engage in many battles, with each struggle shaping the history of ancient Egypt. Since they were actively involved in military activities, their army became gradually polished till it became one of the best in the world. The army's strength and efficiency made it easy for ancient Egypt to defend its land and actively go after other lands. In this article, we shall take about some of the most famous battles fought by the ancient Egyptian army and their effect on Egypt's welfare.
Battle of Mediogo(15th century BC)
The battle of Medigo is the first official recorded battle of the ancient Egyptian army. The war was between king Thutmose III and a coalition of rebellious Canaanite forces led by Kedesh's king. The battle took place at a time ancient Egypt was at the peak of its power.
After the end of king Thutmose III's regency with his mother Hatshepsut, King Thutmose III immediately sorts to solidify his power over the Egyptian empire. At this time, Kedesh's king started forming allies with other rebellious kings from Syria, Aram, and Cannan. He moved against Thutmose III and encamped around the fortress of Mediogo. King Thutmose responded to the threat personally and using his superior military tactics. He was also able to subdue the rebellion and bring the whole region under the Egyptian empire.
The victory of Thutmose II over the Canaanite rebels began the long process that finally led to the pacification of the entire Levant region, cementing the place of ancient Egypt as a superpower in the ancient world. The war also featured the use of the composite bow by the Egyptian army.
Battle of Kadesh (1274 BC)
The battle of Kadesh took place between the Egyptian king Ramesses II and the Hittite king Muwatalli II. It is described as the largest and the most organized battle ever fought by the New Kingdom of ancient Egypt. It involved about 5,000 to 6,000 chariots in total. This resulted from the efforts of king Ramesses II to reclaim the control of Kadesh and her other state borders around the region of Kadesh.
The outcome of the war is not entirely clear as there are conflicting records from Egypt and Hittite, which is modern-day Syria. However, the general opinion agrees that the Egyptian army won the war though it could not capture Kadesh's city. After numerous other conflicts, King Ramesses finally signed a peace treaty with the Hittite king and thus was able to maintain peace between the two nations.
Battle of the Delta (1175 BC)
The battle of the delta was one of the first naval battles ever recorded by the ancient Egyptians. It was between the ancient Egyptian empire under the reign of Ramesses III and the sea peoples. The sea people were a group of wanderers who were notorious for their frequent attacks on ancient Egypt and other regions in the East Mediterranean.
The sea peoples had already destroyed most of the cities along the Mediterranean, including Cyprus, Hattusa, Hittite's capital, and some regions in the south of Levant. King Ramesses III initially defeated the sea people in Syria in the battle of Djahy. They tried again to attack Egypt by ships, but king Ramesses was well prepared for their invasion, and he again defeated them in tactical warfare.
Rameses III drew the sea people into the mouth of the Nile and ambushed them with archers who were positioned at the shores of the Nile delta as the archers rained arrows on the invading ships, Ramesses III blocked the path of the sea peoples' escape with the royal navy preventing their escape. The war led to the destruction of the foreign invaders and freed the Egyptian empire from invasion. Though the sea peoples still invaded other regions, they mostly steered clear of Egyptian cities.
Battle of Carchemish (605 BC)
The battle of Carchemish was fought between Egypt's armies allied with the remaining forces of the Assyrian empire and the military of Babylonia allied with the Medes, Persians, and Scythians. The battle occurred at Carchemish and ended as a disaster for the Egyptian empire. The defeat of the Egyptian army in this battle signified the end of the Assyrian empire. It also meant that Egypt was no longer a significant power in the Ancient Near East.
The Battle of Pelusium (525 BC)
The battle of Pelusium was the first recorded battle between the first Persian empire under King Cambyses and the Ancient Egyptian empire under Pharaoh Amasis and later his son Psamtik III. The battle was one of the grates losses ever suffered by the ancient Egyptian empire. About seventy thousand Egyptian soldiers were killed, while the Persians lost only about seven thousand men. One account of the battle attributed the defeat of the Egyptian army by using sacred Egyptian animals by the Persians in the war, which prevented the Egyptians from using their arrows, which was their primary military weapon.
The battle resulted in the capture of Pharaoh Psamtik III, who led the Egyptian army and lost Egyptian autonomy to the Persians. This decisive battle transferred the throne of the Pharaohs to Cambyses II of Persia, marking the beginning of the Achaemenid Twenty-seventh Dynasty of Egypt. Pharaoh Psamtik III later committed suicide in Persia after a failed revolt against the Persians.