The Military Leadership of Egyptian Pharaohs: The Creation of Dynasties
Early and first Militaries Of Egypt
The Pinnacle of African Leadership In The Ancient World
"Wasset is holier than any city. Water and land began to exist there. ... (all cities) are founded after her true name; they are called cities" after (her) name, and they are placed under the watch of Waset. the eye of Ra.
"The wicked broke loose from Waset. she is the mistress of cities, mightier than any city. She gives the country to one single Master by her victory, who wields the bow and holds the spear. Near her there is no fighting, for her might is too great. Every city takes pride in her name; she is their mistress, being more powerful than they.
"This is (the order) which issued from the mouth of Ra. The enemy of Ra is reduced to ashes, and all belongs to Waset-Upper and Lower Kemet, heaven and earth, the Lower World with its shores, its waters, and its mountains, and all that is brought by the Ocean and the Hapi. All that existed for Geb grows for her, and all belongs to her in peace, wherever the Sun goes around.
"Every land pays tribute to her as a vassal, for she is the Eye of Ra, which none resists. ... Happy is he who comes to die at Waset, the abode of Maat, the place of Silence. ... Happiness to him who comes to die here! He will be a divine soul!"
(19th Dynasty Papyrus [Moret, 1972])
Ancient Egyptian Armies
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization in eastern North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the River Nile. The civilization began around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh, and continues to thrive over the next three millennia. The history of ancient Egypt is divided into three kingdoms stabilized: The Old Kingdom (c.2686-2160 BC), The Middle Kingdom (c.2055-1650 BC) and The New Empire (c.1550-1069 BC) separated by two periods unstable intermediates.
"For most parts of its history, Ancient Egypt was unified under one government, so that the military chief concern was to keep the enemies from invading the nation.
The arid plains and deserts surrounding Egypt were inhabited by nomadic tribes who occasionally tried to plunder or settle in the fertile valley of the River Nile. Although the vast expanses of desert formed a barrier that protected the river valley and was almost impossible for massive armies to cross, the Egyptians built fortresses and outposts along the border and is west of the Nile Delta in the eastern desert and Nubia in the south. Most Egyptian cities lacked city walls and other defenses.
The Old and Middle Kingdom Egyptian armies were very simple, they consisted of conscripted peasants and artisans, who would then fight under the flag of the Pharaoh. The early Egyptian army used specific military units, while differentiated military hierarchy came on the scene by the Middle Kingdom.
The major advance in weapons technology and warfare began around 1600 BC when the Egyptians finally defeated the Hyksos. Conquests of foreign territories, as Nubia, need a permanent force to be stationed abroad. The meeting with other powerful kingdoms of the Middle East as Mitanni, the Hittites, and later the Assyrians and Babylonians, the Egyptians made it necessary to conduct campaigns far from home. It was also during this period, the horse and chariot were introduced in Egypt.
Their presence has caused changes in the army's role in Egyptian society and so during the New Kingdom, the Egyptian army has changed its volunteer troops to an organization of professional soldiers. The Egyptian army divided into three main branches: the infantry, tanks, and navy.
Ancient Egypt Infantry
Infantry troops were part written, part voluntary. Foreigners have also been incorporated into the army.Medjay Nubian Egyptian armies came during the interim period unstable first as mercenaries and trained some of the best units in archery. They are famous for their missions against the Hyksos people, who had made themselves lords of Lower Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, under Kamose. In the Realms of Middle and early news, Asian maryannu troops were used, and Sherden, Libyans, and "Na'arn" were used in the Ramesside period, ie, the late New Empire (c.1292-1075 BC).
The ancient Egyptian chariots
Chariots, inspired armies of Western Asia, was officially presented as a division of the army at the end of the Second Intermediate Period (c.1650-1550 BC). New Kingdom, it became the backbone of the Egyptian army.Charioteers were drawn from the upper classes in Egypt. Chariots were generally used as a mobile platform from which to use projectile weapons, and were generally drawn by two horses and two chariots mounted: a driver who was wearing a shield, and a man with a bow or the javelin . Chariots also had the support of infantry.
Ancient Egyptian Navy
Before the New Kingdom, the Egyptian army was essentially aquatic. Navy was an integral part of the Egyptian army, although more often than not, it was little more than a way for ground troops to where they were needed. However, for the interim period later, the Navy has become very sophisticated and complicated naval maneuvers used, for example Kamose the campaign against the Hyksos in the harbor of Avaris (c.1555-1550 BC).
Egyptian squadrons composed of fast "Keftiu / kebentiu" Byblos and Egyptian transports patrolling the eastern Mediterranean, and the higher ranks were composed of the elite middle. The Egyptian deployment of archers and the fact that Egyptian ships could both be sailed and rowed, gave them a decisive advantage, despite the inferiority of the ships themselves, which were sometimes quite considerable carrying up 'Two hundred and fifty soldiers.
Egypt lost its role as a maritime superpower after the late New Kingdom. Phoenicians and Greeks have become key players in the Mediterranean continental powers like the Persians used these sea nations to impose their control over the seas. The last of the Ptolemies, Queen Cleopatra VII joined forces with Marc Anthony Roman, in an attempt to preserve the independence of Egypt. But his fleet was defeated at Actium, which defined the end of Pharaonic Egypt.
The View Of Egyptian Military Pharaohs
"Too often those who have risked their own freedom, and all their prospects during popular struggle, are much forgotten, after a while,by the younger generation who do not know, who do not even care about,what their fathers have gone through.(Karl Blind)
Cheik Anta Diop, Egyptologist, linguist, physicist, historian and an owner of a carbon-dating lab, allows 10,000 years for the cycle of Egyptian civilization." He further states that: "This civilization called Egyptian in our period developed for a long time in its early cradle... This cycle of civilization, the longest in history, presumably lasted 10,000. This is a reasonable compromise between long chronology(based on data provided ... by Manetho [which] places the beginning at 17,000 B.C.) and the short chronology (3100 B.C.) of the moderns - for the latter are obliged to admit that by 4245 B.C. the Egyptians had already invented the calendar (Which necessarily requires the passages of thousands of years.)"
Towards the end of the predynastic Gerzean period (3600-3200 B.C. armed conflict and conquest emerged, with several kingdoms seeking hegemony over the Nile Valley. One of these kingdoms, originating in Lower Nubia, was in fact ruled by "pharaohs" prior to the unification of Egypt
King Scorpion ruled in the same Dynasty period before Narmer. This Dynasty is today known as the "00 Dynasty". He too has been thought that he was the first one to united the Upper and Lower Egypt through his army and captured 6,000
Aha is known to millions of people as King Menes, the founding King of Egypt's 1st Dynasty and was the first king to unify Upper and Lower into one Kingdom. Ancient Egyptian form of civilization began with him. and he founded Crocodopolis. The Egyptian army under him performed raid against the Numbians in the south of Egypt, and expanded his sphere of influence as far as the First Cataract. It is purported that his death was a mystery because he was attacked by wild dogs and Nile crocodiles in Faiyum. He died at the age of sixty three. There is not enough readily available data about King Scorpion. It got lost over the millenniums and changes that happened in Egypt. the mace head and other artifacts enable us to know about him
King Narmer or Menes
The story of the rule of Menes is etched in raised relief in a palette discovered in 1898 by archeologist James Quibell in the Upper Egyptian city of Nekhen(Today's which is shaped like a shield, dates to as long ago as 3200 B.C. It holds one of the oldest known document about Menes. The Narmer palette is one of the most famous and ambitious commemorative stone objects for the period just before Egypt's first Dynasty. On the two palettes, Narmer is shown wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt, smites the defeat enemy. The scene is labelled from above by a group which shows a falcon holding a rope leading from a man's head. This head is combined with a "land" sign and papyrus plants to make a personification of Lower Egypt. On the second side, which is the opposite side side, Narmer is wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and accompanied by standards and servants, reviews the slain enemy beside his ship.
Narmer showed his genius in many ways. He was by far much more acquainted with hydrostatics and hydraulic engineering more than the modern world did in the 1900s. The diverting of the course of the Nile was done with degree of skill and precaution that still baffles us to this day. The river flowed entirely along the sandy ridge of hills which skirts Egypt on the other side of Libya. Narmer-Menes, however, by banking up the river at the bend which forms about a hundred furlongs south of Memphis, laid the ancient channel dry, while he dug a new course for the river halfway between the two lines of the hills. To this day, the elbow which the Nile forms at the point where it is forced aside into the new channel is guarded with the greatest care by the Persians, and strengthened every year. of Lower and Upper Egyptian kingdoms, and created the first nation-state. pastoralists(Herodotus)
Menes is credited with the unification and has been linked to the crushing of Northern territories tribes and hordes of Euro-Asian Barbarians. These tribes were a source of great agitation for the Egyptians. Attracted by the wealth of the southern inhabitants, these tribes continuously raided their settlements; consequently travel, travel was becoming a dire undertaking. Historically, these Tamahu, as the Egyptians called them, were described as having white skin, red to blond hair, and blue eyes.(Rosalie Davis) In the Egyptian language, "Tama" means people created and "Hu" is white, light or ivory.(Gerald Massey)
King Senwosret I
King Senwosret took office after his father was assassinated, some speculate, by his harem when he was out was fighting in Libya, that he quickly and swiftly left the campaign and went home, where he got into action by executing the plotters and making his public will for everyone to see, and it was called "Instructions of Amenemhet and is a classic piece of Egyptian Literature. It was during his reign that literature and craftsmanship was at it peak. His father was , Amenemhet I was a leader during the a significant rise in Kemet's international power and influence. Ka-Kepra-Re Sen Wosret is the African king who is mentioned in the ancient Greek legends, 'King Kecrops'. 'Kecrops is important and that he was said by the Greeks to be the founder of Greek city-state, Athens. The sphere of power and influence included not only the Red Sea, up to as far as Punt, it also included what today we call the Mediterranean, Libya, Palestine, Syria, Crete, the Aegean Islands, and even the mainland of of Greece itself. Sen Wosret inherited this legacy(Bernal, '87; Kamil, '76) By the time he was in his early twenties, the politics had not changed much, and he secured the country like is father by guarding the south border with fortresses and watching the mobile Libyans clans in the north-west. The expeditions he had sent out brought back valuable minerals and for the first time the oases in the western desert wee explored
Senwosret eventually captured Lower Nubia and built over a dozen fortresses as far as south as the the second cataract the large stronghold at Buhen, now lost forever under the water of Lake Nasser. He expanded the Osiris religion and built monuments in every cult city in Egypt. He remodeled the temple of Khentiamentiu and Osiris at Abydos and constructed two new shrines at Karnak and Heliopolis. In Helipolis he erected two 20 meter (121) tons red granite obelisks for the Jubilee of this 30 years in office. One of the pair remains the oldest standing obelisk in Egypt. He built his pyramids at Lisht close to Fayum basin, and today it's just in ruins.
Pharaoh Ahmose The Great
Egypt had been defeated at the end of the Second Intermediate period by the superior Nomadic Semites forces from Canaan and Syria used a new weapon, the chariot and these foreigners were called the Shepherd. The Hyksos occupied the north part of Egypt, enslaved the Egyptians brutally. The Hyksos worshiped a God called Set(Satan) who was the equivalent of to their God(s). The Hyksos used the Egyptian slave labor to build their new city known as Avaris. Pharaohs like Seqenera were the earliest patriots of resisting the Hyksos, and this was made possible by the rise of the princes of Thebes, who managed to keep the south of Egypt under their control. He conquered the Libu people of the western Nubia and Kush The reorganized and built their army, and improved their weapons and even used chariots. After Pharaoh Seneqera was slain battle, it was left to two great brothers, Prince Ka Mose and Prince Ahmose to pursue the war of liberation of against the Hyksos.
Pharaoh Ahmose resumed the war of liberation against the Hyksos or 'Shepherd Kings early in his reign. He crushed the foreigners' allies in Middle Egypt and, advancing down the Nile River, he captured Memphis, the traditional capital of Egypt, near modern Cairo. While his mother ran the government in Thebes, near modern Luxor, he undertook a waterborne operation against Avaris, The Hyksos Capital, in eastern delta followed by a land siege. When a rebellion flared in Upper Egypt, he hastened upriver to quell the uprising, while the queen mother Ahhotep helped to contain it.. Having put down the uprising, he captured Avaris and then pursued the enemy to Sharuben, A Hyksos stronghold in Palestine, which was reduced after a three-year siege. He went on to conquer Sinai pushing towards the final destruction of the Hyksos He went on to prepare and conquer Canaan, Byblos and the middle Eastern regions that posed a threat to Egypt.
Before advancing into Palestine,Ahmose, in three campaigns, advanced into Nubia, whose ruler was an ally of the Hyksos. The rich gold mines of the of the south provided another incentive for Ahmose's expansion into Nubia. After his borders were secure, Ahmose established an administration loyal to him in Egypt and granted lands to distinguished veterans of his campaigns and to members of the royal family. He reactivated the copper mines at Sinai and resumed trade with the cities of the Syrian coast, as attested by inscriptions recording the use of cedar found in Syria an by the rich jewelry from his reign. After that, he pursued the Hyksos to Sharuhen, a Hyksos stronghold in Palestine and conquered them. Egypt became a major power and rose again to be a world force. During Ahmose's reign the temples that he built were for the gods, Ptah, Amon, Montu and Osiris. He restored neglected temples, erected chapels for his family, and planned more ambitious works, but he died soon afterward, leaving a prosperous and untied Egypt.
Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I, who had ruled for 13 years during which he expanded the frontiers of Egypt as far as the most western part of the Euphrates river. He increased the wealth of his empire, as those lands were very productive. Thutmose I was also responsible for building The Valley of the Kings,where he and other pharaohs were buried. Thutmose wished that when he died, Hatshepsut succeeded him. But Vizier Ineni(builder/architect oft he Valley of the KIngs would not have a woman rule the empire. He promoted a weak and fledgling Thutmose II, who was the son of Thutmose I, but begat of a secondary wife. He was Hatshepsut's half brother.
Hatshepsut was married off to Thutmose II, her half brother. It was a hard blow to her for she was raised as a pharaoh and wanted to fulfill her father's wishes. Thutmose II was a very weak man and in bad health. He died three years later, but he had a son with a concubine called Thutmose III. since Thutmose III was still a child and could not rule, Hatshepsut came into power. She got the power that were granted both to men and women. she dressed like a Pharaoh and used their false beard too. Hatshepsut of ancient Egypt was the greatest female ruler of all time. Among those whom she dominated was her brother, Thotmes III, "The Napoleon of Far Antiquity". She was the first woman in history to challenge the supremacy of the male, and arrayed against her was a 3000 years of masculine tradition. She lived 150 years before Tutankhamen, or 3,500 years, in our time line
When her father was king, he was suddenly stricken with paralysis, and Hatshepsut became his chief aide. She was so efficient that Thothmes I entrusted her with the management of the kingdom and made her co-ruler. She and Thotmes III fought some serous wars which eventually left Hatshepsut had to compromise and marry Thotmes III, whom she eventually sidelined and went o to build temples, she restored cities devastated by wars. In Thebes, her city, she built temples an obelisks decorated with gold and silver.
Hatshepsut sent expeditions to distant lands, one of which was Punt. Punt was the traditional home of the earliest Egyptians and was located somewhere in East Africa. This mission was entrusted to Hehusi, the unmixed African who is spoken of in her inscriptions as "Prince Chancellor, First Friend, Wearing the Collar"; Senmut, the architect and Thutiy, her treasurer. They left with five vessels of about 300 tons each, and returned with gold, myrrh, incense, incense bearing trees, strange animals, and other products of that region. The full story of this expedition may be read on the walls of her temple at Deir-el-Bahari.
When she died, her husband Thutmose III, succeeding the throne, killed off her friends, defaced her inscriptions, chipped her features fro her portraits, and walled in her obelisks, doing all with such thoroughness that she was forgotten for 300 years. Hatshepsut's wish was to live in memory of mankind. To the Egyptian,that was true immortality and her story, written is still fresh and fascinating now as when it was in her life thirty-five centuries ago.
He was the mightiest conquerer and administrator of Far East Antiquity and was a son of Thotmes I and a slave woman Isis or Asnut. He had a handicap of birth, but he forged ahead of those born noble and won supreme power not only in Egypt, but in the then known world was during his reign that Kemet reached the peak of its imperial power, when Asia had yet to develop its great civilization. He became know as the Napoleon of Far Antiquity His early bid for power failed in the long contest for the throne with Hatshepsut, his sister, for whom he proved no match. At one time, Thotmes III's army numbered nearly 700,000 men (Steindorff and Steele, '57). Kemet embarked upon a phase of imperialism because of the invasion of the Hyksos or 'Shepherd Kings', whom he ousted. It sought to establish a buffer to thwart further attempts at invasion. The rule if Thotmes III reached all the way to the Aegean, to mainland Greece right up to the Euphrates River. He, like all the other Thotmes Kings, followed the diplomatic practice of marrying Asian wives, daughters of foreign kings, as extra wives. Thotmes had 3 Asian wives. Neither became his Great Royal Wife. With the exception of Akhenaton and Thotmes IV, who married the daughter of the King of Mitanni, no Egyptian King took foreign wives as their Great Royal Wife. This was because the African Custom was the royal blood-line ran through the female or the queen, the Great Royal Wife
Thotmes III brought back to Egypt the kings of other nations to grace his triumphs, and such wealth of golden thrones, royal chariots,gold, jewels, gold and silver vessels and cattle as had never been seen before in Egypt. It is on record that in his seventieth year, Africans from Nubia brought him a tribute of 1570 pounds of gold from Waiwat alone.
He was utterly fearless, and it is said he once attacked an elephant in battle single-handed The beast was about to seize him when his general, Amenenhab, struck off its trunk with a blow of his sword and saved his life. The rule of Thotmes III was unlike many conquerers of antiquity because he showed mercy and spared the defeated nations, instead of putting the old and decrepit to the sword. Breasted writes:
"His character stands with more color and individuality that that of any other king of early Egypt, save Akhnaton. We see the man of tireless energy unknown in any Pharaoh before or since; the man of versatility designing exquisite vases in a moment of leisure; the lynx-eyed administrator who launched his armies upon Asia with one hand and with the other crushed the extortionate tax-gatherer. ... While he was proud to leave a record of his unparalleled achievements, Thotmes III protests more than once his deep respect for the truth in so doing. ... His reign marks an epoch not only in Egypt but in the whole east as we know it in his age. Never before in history had a single brain wielded the resources of so great a nation and wrought them into such centralized permanence and at the same time mobile efficiency, that for years they could be brought to bear with incessant impact as a skilled artisan manipulates a 100-ton forge hammer. Although the figure is inadequate unless we remember that Thotmes III forged his own hammer. The genius which rose from an obscure priestly office to accomplish this for the first time in history reminds us of an Alexander or Napoleon. He built the first real empire and is thus the first character possessed of universal aspects, the first world hero. From the fastness of Asia Minor,the marshes of the upper Euphrates, the Islands of the sea, the swamps of Babylonia, the distant shore of Libya, the Oases of the Sahara, the terraces of Somali Coast and the upper cataracts of the Nile, the princes of his time rendered tribute to his greatness. He thus made not only a world-wide impression upon his age, but an impression of a new order. His commanding figure, towering like an embodiment of righteous penalty among the trivial plots of the petty Syrian dynasts, must have clarified the atmosphere of oriental politics as a strong wind drives away miasmic vapors. The inevitable chastisement of his strong arm was held in awed remembrance by the men of Naharin for three generations. His name was one to conjure with for centuries after his empire had crumbled to pieces. It was placed on amulets as a word of power."
Thotmes III died at the age of eighty-two. He built many temples. Other of his obelisks was taken to Central Park, New YOrk City; another was set up on the Thames Embarkment in London. And so in death, across the ages, King Thotmes III, The Great, rules in spirit in four major cities in the world, Constantinople, Rome, London and New York.
Piankhy - King of Ethiopia and Conquerer of Egypt
King Pianhky of Nubia watched his tribute of gold, cattle,slaves, and fighting men floating down the Nile to his overlord. for more than 1800 years his country had been dominated by Egypt, which drew from it much of her gold and most of her fighting men. Now he decided that when tribute was net due,he was going to be the receiver,not the giver.
Piankhy was the son of Kashta and he ascended to the throne of the Nubian-Egyptian nation. Ethiopia was in a flourishing state, and the Ethiopian kings had a certain claim to the throne of Egypt. Piankhy of Nepata, therefore, set out to enforce the claim, and he left a detailed account of his invasion..."(Dr. Murray). During is time on the throne, he had been strengthening his power. When his plans were ready, Piankhy started out on the conquest of the worlds then mightiest power. His fleet and transports were so numerous that they stretched for miles down the river As he advanced, he captured all small towns, sacrificing to the gods of Nubia on their altars, until he arrived at the first fortress.
Following this service of devotion and charge of valor, Piankhy and his legions sailed down the NIle to either augment his forces already in the Middle of Egyptian Townships - but under siege - or to overpower additional, key metropolises of Egypt. Governor Pefnefdebast of Heracleopolis was relieved that he was not killed and he prostrated himself before his conquerer. further down the river, another princeling - Osorken, King of Babustis - also knelt and paid paid homage to the regal Ethiopian and proclaiming his desire to look upon the beauty of his majesty and sniffed the ground before Piankhy.
As a warrior-king, Piankhy could - and did,when events demanded it - strike swiftly and ruthlessly, although he certainly was no vandal chieftain, killing wantonly or wreaking havoc in his wake simply to establish a name that was feared near and far. For example, when he became monarch of Egypt he protected rather than laid to waste its treasure-swollen temples, and his display of humanity and passion for justice tempered with mercy astonished ad pleased is opponents. Ethiopia's great and well -trained army of black warriors and his own good behavior and his troops caused the Egyptians to regard him almost.... (as) a protector from Assyria and Libya.
Success after success soon put Piankhy in control of all Egypt and the East African gladiator became the ruler of a commonwealth which stretched from the shores of the Mediterranean to the borders of modern Ethiopia - almost one quarter of the the African Continent. He loved women(Had at east seven wives) and horses. The Libyan Viceroys offered him spirited, powerful steeds. His horses, when excavators found them, were buried standing clad in full battle attire facing the south. He appointed a vassal prince and made the citizenry happy and peaceful and Piankhy controlled the fiscal and military power, that is, it remained in the hands of the Ethiopians. His decisive and speedy mastery of Egypt showed him to be a man of great physical stamina, ready decision and quick mental power. As a military tactician, in the assault of Memphis alone, he earned a high place among the battlefield strategists of all time. A man of action, a soldier with a sense of humanity, a ruler who governed in the interests of the people, Piankhy's quality of character have assured him a place of high honor among the monarchs of man's early civilized state.
The rulers of Egypt reviewed above had a sense of humanity, mercy, compassion and development of their people at all costs. The worked very hard for the defenses of their people and lands; they liberated themselves from oppressive foreigners; they rebuilt their temples, and built new ones; the built large and strong armies; they did all the could do to maintain the over 4000 years of consistent and unbroken rule of about twenty- something dynasties. We will be looking at the achievement of different Pharaohs throughout the existence of Egyptian Dynasties. Sometimes their deeds read like a fairy tale, and yet, it all happened and it is what we can learn from them how to deal with war, peace and development of cities and humanity and our spiritual well-being, for our 'modern' civilizations.
King Piye, The Bull Ruler of Egypt
Piye's triumphant return south is not recorded, although it be assumed that he some time in Thebes. It is possible that the princesses Shepenwepeet and Muturdis were dedicated to the service of the Theban deities at this time, rather than on the northwards journey. Piye had doubtless bought architects and sculptors from Egypt. The timber and treasures he had received from the defeated rulers went towards the aggrandizement of the Kushite sanctuary which was now adorned with statuary brought form the older temples of Nubia.
By the time the Egyptian twenty-fifth dynasty rolled around, there once-all-powerful domain of the Pharaohs was not what it used to be. The New Kingdom was still a dominant civilization with an advanced culture filled with mummies, pyramids, and animal god-heads, but these were a far-cry from the days of the rule of Ramses II, with his war chariots, or Thutmose III giant obelisks. These dynasties fell because of ineffective leadership, general political in-fighting, and the centuries old civilization crumpled into several smaller kingdoms ruled by some petty despots. Out of these divided nomes arose a tyrant. It was during tis time of his rule that Tefnakht came up with the idea of unifying Egypt. He raised a mighty army and went about plundering ities along the Nile, and his enemies surrendered without giving up a fight. this raised Tefnakht on is way to being the supreme ruler of Egypt. As a ruler, he was not satisfied with the subjugation of the lesser cities of the Nile, and his need was going to be satiated by conquering all places that needed to be conquered. After he unified Egypt and all were subjected to his rule, he diced to march his armies south and invaded the Nubian Kingdom for some reason.
What he failed to realize, Tefnakht, was that Nubia, an ancient Kingdom that existed in the northern part of Sudan as very powerful indeed., and they never took kindly to some King trying to conquer them. As a matter of fact, the Nubians had been for millennium had been conquering and bashing heads and they were a hardcore civilization no one wanted to tangle with in war.. Tefnakht overlooked that and marched his armies into the the domain of the Kushite, where he came face to face with the Bull of Kush, Piye. By then he had been ruling for some twenty years and was known to be pious and just and an honorable ruler. When he heard that Tefnakht was coming to attack him, made sacrifices in the name of the god Amon.. Piye went out to face combat of a coalition of three kings and five princes loyal to the king of Egypt, and defeated them soundly. The enemy nobles and commanders lost their armies, fled the filed and ran off to their castles. To finnish his conquering streak, Piye went around one by one besieging them until, in his words, they "exuded the stench of decomposition". Piye went about conquering everything he could find his strategy was basically just to surround a city and demand that the submit to him, and when they did, he would march in, plunder their treasury and left. If they crossed him, , as was the case of the Egyptian metropolis of memphis, he would destroy their army, smash their navy and sacked the city by tearing down the walls,. He never encouraged his army to pillage, and rape, and he never ruthlessly killed the peasants to prove his benevolence as a King. Piye chased Tefnakht out of his city and as Tefnakht sued for peace reportedly to have said: "Be gracious! I cannot see your face in the days of shame; I cannot stand before your flame, I dread your grandeur." After making himself a Pharaoh, Piye bailed out and headed back home to Nubia. He spent the rest of his days living in his giant palace, and never set his foot in Egypt again. He ruled Egypt benevolently and lived in Nubia, carved out his story on a giant stone stele, and was buried in a pyramid. Piye's son went on to arrest Tefnakht's son and burnt him on a stake.
Pharaoh Rameses II (1279-1213 BC)
Rameses II (19th dynasty), son of Seti I, was around thirty years old when he became king of Egypt - and then reigned for 67 years. He had many wives, among them some of his own near relatives, and was the father of about 111 sons and 51 daughters.
As was usual in those days, the threat of foreign aggression against Egypt was always at its greatest on the ascension of a new Pharaoh. Subject kings no doubt saw it as their duty to test the resolve of a new king in Egypt. Likewise, it was incumbent on the new Pharaoh it make a display of force if he was to keep the peace during his reign. Therefore, in his fourth year as pharaoh, Rameses was fighting in Syria in a series of campaigns against the Hittites and their allies. The Hittites, however, were a very strong foe and the war lasted for twenty years.
On the second campaign, Rameses found himself in some difficulties when attacking "the deceitful city of Kadesh". This action nearly cost him his life. He had divided his army into four sections: the Amun, Ra, Ptah and Setekh divisions. Rameses himself was in the van, leading the Amon division with the Ra division about a mile and a half behind. He had decided to camp outside the city - but unknown to him, the Hittite army was hidden and waiting. They attacked and routed the Ra division as it was crossing a ford.
With the chariots of the Hittites in pursuit, Ra fled in disorder - spreading panic as they went. They ran straight into the unsuspecting Amun division. With half his army in flight, Rameses found himself alone. With only his bodyguard to assist him, he was surrounded by two thousand five hundred Hittite chariots.
The king, realising his desperate position, charged the enemy with his small band of men. He cut his way through, slaying large numbers as he escaped. "I was," said Rameses, "by myself, for my soldiers and my horsemen had forsaken me, and not one of them was bold enough to come to my aid."
At this point, the Hittites stopped to plunder the Egyptian camp - giving the Egyptians time to regroup with their other two divisions. They then fought for four hours, at the end of which time both sides were exhausted and Rameses was able to withdraw his troops.
In the end neither side was victorious. And finally - after many years of war - Rameses was obliged to make a treaty with the prince of the Hittites. It was agreed that Egypt was not to invade Hittite territory, and likewise the Hittites were not to invade Egyptian territory. They also agreed on a defence alliance to deter common enemies, mutual help in suppressing rebellions in Syria, and an extradition treaty.
Thirteen years after the conclusion of this treaty in the thirty-fourth year of his reign, Rameses married the daughter of the Hittite prince. Her Egyptian name was Ueret-ma-a-neferu-Ra: meaning " Great One who sees the Beauties of Ra".
Although brave in battle, Rameses was an inept general - and I wonder how Thutmose III would have dealt with the Hittites. Maybe Rameses also pondered this because he spent the rest of his life bolstering his image with huge building projects. His name is found everywhere on monuments and buildings in Egypt and he frequently usurped the works of his predecessors and inscribed his own name on statues which do not represent him.
The smallest repair of a sanctuary was sufficient excuse for him to have his name inscribed on every prominent part of the building. His greatest works were the rock-hewn temple of Abu Simbel, dedicated to Amun, Ra-Harmachis, and Ptah; its length is 185 feet, its height 90 feet, and the four colossal statues of the king in front of it - cut from the living rock - are 60 feet high. He also added to the temple of Amenhotep III at Luxor and completed the hall of columns at Karnak - still the largest columned room of any building in the world.
Although he is probably the most famous king in Egyptian history, his actual deeds and achievements cannot be compared with the great kings of the 18th dynasty. He is, in my opinion, unworthy of the title 'Great'. A show-off and propagandist, he made his mark by having his name, like a graffiti artist, inscribed on every possible stone. Whereas kings such as Thutmose III left a stronger and more dynamic Egypt, after Rameses death Egypt fell into decline. Luckily for Egypt, her prestige and pre-eminence as a world superpower was such that this process took a long time. Only one other king, Rameses III (1184 - 1153 BC), was able to temporarily halt this process.
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