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Defending the Kingdom

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DEFENDING THE

KINGDOM

For centuries, Ancient Egyptians needed no permanent army. Egyptians seldom had to defend themselves against enemies, other than the Libyan tribes who attacked occasionally from the Western Desert. After the Middle Kingdom, however, the Hyksos from the Near East seized lower Egypt. They had curved swords, strong bows, body armour and horse-drawn chariots. The Egyptians copied these weapons and began training efficient soldiers. Their new army drove out the hated Hyksos and pushed them back through Palestine and Syria. Prisoners of war were forced to join the army or work as slaves. Egyptians built their mud-brick forts with massive towers surrounded by ditches to defend their borders. Later, Rameses III formed a navy of wooden galleys powered by oars and sails, and trapped the slower sailing ships of pirates invading the Mediterranean Sea.

BATTLE TACTICS
Archers fired from moving chariots. They advanced on the enemy foot-soldiers, then doubled back and attacked from behind.

These soldiers – carrying shields and lances – represent a troop from the fifth nome of Egypt. Foot-soldiers trained for the Army from boyhood. They had to live near the barracks where discipline was very tough. Upper-class youths usually joined the chariot corps, which was organised quite separately. Successful battle commanders received “gold of bravery” flies.