AATA (fl. c. 1530 BC). Opponent of Ahmose I. In the autobiography of Ahmose son of Ebana the episode follows the Nubian campaign, and it is likely that Aata was a local ruler in Wawat. Aata came with an army and ships, but in the outcome he was taken as a living captive and his people were enslaved. The text implies that a whole population was involved and this incident therefore contrasts with the “rebellion” of Teti-an referred to in the same autobiography, both in composition and treatment.
ABU. The Egyptian name for the island of Elephantine in the Nile at the foot of the First Cataract, opposite the town of Aswan. Its position at the foot of the cataract ensured its role as an early trading center, and strategic frontier town. By the Middle Kingdom, it was protected by the fortress of Senmut and a long defensive wall, which extended to the head of the cataract and its harbor. Senusret I ordered a canal to be cleared through the cataract to ease navigation, which was renewed by Thutmose I. The tombs of the town’s officials are carved into the cliffs on the west bank of the Nile, at Qubbet el-Hawa. These include the Old Kingdom “controllers of the doors of the south,” responsible for the frontier and expeditions into Nubia, especially to Wawat, Irtjet, Satju, Yam, and Kush. There are informative autobiographical inscriptions in these tombs, notably that of Harkhuf.
ACTIUM. See AKTION.
AGESILAOS II (c. 445–359 BC). King of Sparta in Greece (from 400 BC). Agesilaos commanded the Greek war against Persia in 396–395 BC, receiving aid from the pharaoh Nefaarud. Later, the elderly Agesilaos, with an army of Greek mercenaries accompanied by a fleet from Athens, aided Djedhor’s attempt to gain territory in Palestine and Syria. His change of allegiance ensured Nakhthorheb was successful in his bid for the Egyptian throne (360–359 BC). Agesilaos died in Cyrenaica on his way back to Greece.
AHMOSE I (reigned c. 1552–1527 BC). Theban ruler, successor of Kamose, who reunited Egypt by defeating the Hyksos ruler of Avaris in the eastern Delta. He is recognized in literature as the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty and the New Kingdom. His military campaigns, which achieved the reunification of Egypt, are recorded in autobiographical texts of soldiers who served in the wars: Ahmose son of Ebana, and Ahmose-Pen-Nekhbet. A brief reference to Ahmose’s war may be preserved on the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, and small fragments of battle reliefs have recently been recovered from the pharaoh’s temple at Abydos. It seems likely that Ahmose I was a minor at the death of Kamose (either his elder brother or father), as there seems to be no military activity until the second decade of the reign.
Activities in Nubia may have preceded the Hyksos campaigns, which are probably to be placed late in the second decade. Evidence from Buhen attests building work by the viceroy, Ahmose-Turo, and it is likely that the Nubian gains of Kamose were consolidated. Ahmose I’s name also occurs in the fortress established at Sai north of the Third Cataract, indicating an Egyptian advance into Kushite territory. The records of the Hyksos campaigns also show that Memphis had been regained by the Theban forces before the commencement of hostilities. The inscription of Ahmose son of Ebana describes battles in which the navy was prominent; the siege of Avaris; the defeat of the Hyksos; and sack of Avaris. The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus carries notes dated to a year 11, attributed by scholars variously to Ahmose or the Hyksos king Khamudi. These notes record the capture of Heliopolis and Tjaru.
The defeat of the Hyksos in the Delta was followed by the siege of Sharuhen, which lasted for three years, or three campaigns. Ahmose also seems to have campaigned inland from Byblos (which was, presumably, reached by ship). Following the campaigns against the Hyksos, Ahmose led a military action in Nubia and later quashed the “rebellions” of Aata and Teti-an. Aata was probably a local ruler of Lower Nubia (Wawat), Teti-an is said to have gathered “malcontents,” perhaps representing a pro-Hyksos faction in the north of Egypt itself.
AHMOSE II (AMASIS) (reigned 570–526 BC). Pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty who gained the throne during an army rebellion following the failure of a campaign sent against Cyrene by Wahibre (Apries). Ahmose appears to have faced opposition from some factions and in 570/569 BC Wahibre attempted to regain the throne with help from Cyprus and Ionian and Carian mercenaries. In a second attempt to regain his throne, Wahibre enlisted the support of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II who invaded Egypt. Ahmose gained help from Cyrene (probably sealed with the diplomatic marriage alliance reported by Herodotos). The invading force was defeated, and Wahibre was killed. An inscription of Ahmose attributes the victory to the intervention of the gods and the weather. Ahmose entered into alliance with Polykrates, tyrant of Samos, from whom he received soldiers. Ahmose also established a treaty with Croesus of Lydia, (there was a similar treaty between Lydia and Babylon). The new threat to Egypt and western Asia was Persia under Cyrus. Lydia was attacked, but Croesus received less help than expected. A Persian attack on Babylon followed (539 BC), but the death of Cyrus (530 BC) relieved Egypt for a brief period.
AHMOSE SON OF EBANA (fl. c. 1560–1500 BC). Military officer in the navy who served under Ahmose I, Amenhotep I, and Thutmose I. He was buried in his hometown of Nekheb (modern el-Kab), south of Luxor, where an autobiographical inscription records the events of his military service. Ahmose was the son of a soldier who served Seqenenre Tao, called Baba (Ebana was the name of his mother). Ahmose’s military service began as a youth, before he was married, when he was a soldier on a ship called the “Wild Bull.” He served on two more ships, the “Northern” and “Arising in Memphis.” At this time he took part in the wars against the Hyksos and the naval battle at Avaris. He was later involved in the Nubian campaigns of Ahmose I, Amenhotep I, and Thutmose I. Apart from the historical value of the texts they indicate the numbers of enemies slain and the rewards for those. Altogether Ahmose cut off eight hands from slain enemies and brought live captives. Some of the captives were given to him as slaves others were exchanged. In return for two Nubian warriors Ahmose received five slaves (sex unspecified), and, for two Nubian men, he was given four Nubian women. Ahmose was rewarded with gold on seven occasions, given a total of 19 slaves and grants of five arouras of land in Nekheb (el-Kab). Of particular significance was Ahmose’s capture, in one campaign in the reign of Thutmose I, of a chariot, horse, and soldier. The chariot was still a relatively new development and was presented by Ahmose to the pharaoh, for which he was rewarded with gold. Ahmose rose from being a soldier to become crew commander. His tomb was decorated, at least in part, by his grandson, Paheri, who was a scribe of the treasury and mayor of Nekheb (el-Kab) and Esna. Ahmose’s military service and its material gains might therefore be seen as evidence for social advancement of a family.
AHMOSE-PEN-NEKHBET (fl. c. 1550–1470 BC). Served in campaigns from the reign of Ahmose I to the coreign of Thutmose III and Hatshepsut. He was buried in his hometown of Nekheb (el-Kab). He records an expedition to Djahy (Lebanon) by Ahmose I, which is not documented elsewhere (e.g. Ahmose son of Ebana). This is presumed to have taken place after the capture of Sharuhen. He served in Kush with Amenhotep I and with Thutmose I in Kush and Naharin. He went with Thutmose II on an expedition against the Shasu.
The text is also valuable for its lists of the reward given by various pharaohs for actions on the battlefield. From the Djahy campaign of Ahmose I, Ahmose-pen-Nekhbet brought a living prisoner and a hand. On the campaign of Amenhotep I to Kush, Ahmose took one living prisoner; in that against Yamu-kehek, three hands; during Thutmose I’s Kushite expedition, he captured a total of five living prisoners; and in the pharaoh’s Naharin expedition, 21 hands with one horse and one chariot. Under Amenhotep I, he received as reward two bracelets, two necklaces, an armlet, a dagger, a headdress, a fan, and a mekhtebet (a type of ornament), all of gold. In a campaign of Thutmose I, he received two bracelets, four necklaces, one armlet, six flies, three lion amulets, and two axes, again all of gold. On another occasion, under the same pharaoh, he was rewarded with three bracelets, six necklaces, three armlets, and a mekhtebet, all of gold, and a silver axe. No allotments of land are mentioned in the text.
AKHENATEN (reigned c. 1352–1336 BC). Pharaoh of the later 18th Dynasty, son and successor of Amenhotep III, ascended the throne as Amenhotep IV, but changed his name early in his reign. There is a possibility of that Amenhotep III and Akhenaten were coregents for up to 12 years, but Egyptologists are still divided on this, and it is not accepted here. The Amarna Letters are the principal source for our understanding of Asiatic affairs in the reign, although fraught with problems of chronology and interpretation. Earlier literature painted a picture of the pharaoh as unwarlike, or even a “pacifist,” who let the Egyptian Empire fall apart through inactivity, while devoting himself to the worship of the sun god. The view of Akhenaten as a pacifist can safely be rejected: he is depicted smiting his enemies in the conventional manner of a pharaoh, as is his chief queen, Nefertiti. A bodyguard always surrounded the pharaoh and contingents of the army accompany him on his public appearances.
One military action by the Egyptian army in Nubia, probably on a small scale, is known from the reign. A fragmentary stele from Buhen records a military expedition into the Nubian deserts between years 10 and 12 (the exact reading of the date is uncertain). This was directed against the gold-mining regions in the Wadi Allaqi, the land of Ikaytja. There is a fragment of a parallel text from Amada.
Scenes in the tombs of the officials Huya and Meryre II at Amarna show the parade of foreign tribute in the “Great Durbar” at Akhetaten in year 12. Such presentations of tribute are frequently associated with foreign wars and consequently it has been suggested that there was a military campaign in that year. Other Egyptologists regard the “Durbar” as part of the ceremonies attending Akhenaten’s accession as sole pharaoh following a long coregency with his father (this is controversial). The foreign tribute includes chariots, horses, and other weapons from both Nubia and western Asia, reflecting the documentation of the arms trade in the Amarna Letters.
The Amarna Letters are concerned with affairs in Asia. At some point in the reign, the Hittite King, Suppiluliuma, conducted a major campaign in north Syria, seizing Egyptian vassal states. This is probably to be dated between years 12 and 14 of Akhenaten’s reign. At the same time, Aziru, ruler of Amurru, gained control of Sumur. Aziru also gained control of Tunip, and there was a coup in Byblos. Right at the end of Akhenaten’s reign (or immediately following it), there was an Egyptian offensive against Qadesh, which was followed up in the later years of Tutankhamun, probably commanded by Horemheb.
AKTION (ACTIUM). Naval battle, 2 September 31 BC, at which the forces of Kleopatra VII and Marcus Antonius were defeated by those of Octavian (Augustus) and the Roman Republic. Aktion is at the entrance to the Ambracian Gulf on the western coast of Greece. Antonius pitched camp on the mainland, but malaria and dysentery affected his troops, followed by the defections of some of his leading supporters. Antonius’s fleet, along with 200 of Kleopatra’s ships sailed to join the land army. But another disaster occurred when, on its arrival, the joint fleet was blockaded in the Gulf. Political factors influenced the decision to attempt withdrawal by sea rather than by land. Illness meant that Antonius did not have enough rowers to man all of the ships, so he equipped 230 and burned the rest. Sources state that Antonius took 20,000 legionaries and 2,000 archers and slingers onto his ships constructing firing towers for them at bow and stern. Octavian’s fleet of 400 now vastly outnumbered Antonius’s and was more experienced. Later claims that Octavian’s ships were smaller and more easily maneuvered are probably incorrect. Antonius’s ships were allowed to sail out in file through the narrow Gulf. As they spread into line, Octavian’s fleet was drawn up against them. Octavian apparently wished to lure the fleet into open water so that his greater numbers could outflank them. He refused to join battle and Antonius had no option but to sail farther out or return to the Gulf. As the fleets moved out and engaged, the center weakened, allowing Kleopatra and her squadron of 60 ships to break through and set sail for Egypt. This had doubtless been prearranged. Antonius managed to follow her, although he had to abandon his flagship. Few of the other commanders were able to break free. About 30 or 40 of Antonius’s ships were sunk. The remainder surrendered, although some retreated into the Gulf until the next day. The defeat led directly to the fall of Egypt and its incorporation into the Roman Empire.
ALAMEIN. The existence of a fortress here in the reign of Ramesses II has been suggested by some remains, notably granite stele fragments referring to Libyan Wars. Estimates of distance between forts along the coastal route from Rakote to Zawiyet Umm el-Rakham also suggest that Alamein was a likely site. Any such fort would have been part of the defense against the Libyans, but probably only operated during the early 19th Dynasty.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT (III OF MACEDON) (reigned 336–323 BC). Macedonian king who defeated Darius III and conquered the empire of Persia. Following Alexander’s defeat of Persian forces at Issos (333 BC) in Asia Minor, the Macedonian adventurer Amyntas tried to capture Egypt for personal gain, but was put to death, with his force, by the Persian satrap of Egypt. Meanwhile, Alexander’s army and fleet proceeded toward Egypt along the Phoenician coast to Gaza, which was besieged (September–November 332 BC). With the fall of Gaza, Macedonia’s supremacy at sea was unchallenged. Alexander now crossed the Sinai Peninsula to Pelusion (December 332 BC). Mazaces, the Persian satrap, yielded Egypt to Alexander without making opposition. Alexander installed a garrison in Pelusion and went directly to the capital at Memphis. From Memphis, Alexander sailed to Lake Mareotis and founded Alexandria, near the small port of Rakote (January 331 BC), before making the long desert journey to the oracle temple of Zeus-Ammon at Siwa. Recognized by the god as his son, and legitimate pharaoh, Alexander returned to Memphis, apparently directly across the desert. While at Memphis, Alexander imposed Macedonian rule on the country. He appointed two of his companions, Pantaleon of Pydna and Polemon of Pella, as commanders of the garrisons in Memphis and Pelusion. Lykidas, an Aetolian Greek, was placed in command of the mercenary troops, and other military appointments ensured that the security of the country was not under the command of one individual. The Roman writer, Arrian, in his history of Alexander’s campaigns based on contemporary sources, observes that Alexander thought that the country’s potential strength made it unsafe to be under control of one individual. Leaving Egypt in late spring of 331 BC, Alexander continued his advance into the heart of the Persian Empire, dying at Babylon in 323 BC, after which Egypt was seized by the general, later pharaoh, Ptolemy I.
ALEXANDRIA. Capital city of the Ptolemies. Founded by Alexander the Great in January 331 BC, Alexandria became the greatest Mediterranean port in the Hellenistic period and, with a population of over half a million persons, the second city of the Roman Empire. The population was very mixed, including a large number of Jews, and was the site of numerous civil disturbances under the Ptolemies and in Roman times. The Alexandrian mob took sides in the dynastic wars of the Ptolemies, often with devastating results. In the first century AD, there were race riots against the Jews.
Shortly after the accession of Ptolemy IV, the exiled king of Sparta, Kleomenes III, attempted a coup but was swiftly put down. There were further problems in the city following the death of Ptolemy IV, the murder of his widow, and the accession of Ptolemy V (204–03 BC). This culminated in mob violence.
In the reign of Ptolemy VI, Alexandria was besieged by Antiochos IV, the Seleukid king of Syria, during the Sixth Syrian War (168 BC), but he failed to take the city. A few years later (about 165 BC), an Egyptian courtier, Dionysios Petoserapis, started a rebellion among the soldiers stationed in Eleusis, to the east of the city. He raised about 4,000 rebels, but they were defeated and fled to the chora (countryside), where he received some popular support.
A Roman army under the command of Aulus Gabinius, with Marcus Antonius leading the cavalry, was sent by Pompey to restore Ptolemy XII (Auletes) in 55 BC. There was a battle outside the city, followed by a naval battle on the Nile. Although Gabinius returned to Rome, a force of legionaries, the Gabinians, remained in the city.
There were two major military actions in the city in the reign of Kleopatra VII. In 48 BC, the arrival of Iulius Caesar in pursuit of Pompey led to the Alexandrian War and the restoration of Kleopatra to the throne. In 30 BC, the forces of the future emperor Augustus arrived outside of the city where Kleopatra and M. Antonius returned following their defeat at Aktion the preceding year. On 1 August 30 BC, Augustus entered the city. This was followed shortly after by the deaths of Antonius and Kleopatra and the appointment of a Roman prefect, the first being Cornelius Gallus.
In 38 AD, the appearance of the Judaean tetrarch Agrippa, a friend of the reigning emperor, Caligula, provoked anti–Jewish riots and desecration of synagogues. These are the first racist attacks by Greeks on Jews in Alexandria. The prefect failed to intervene and the army did not play a major role. There were further Jewish-Greek riots in the city in 55 AD, shortly after the accession of the emperor Nero. This was connected with the attempt by a large group of Egyptian Jews to liberate Jerusalem from Roman rule. Later, in 66 AD, a Jewish rebellion in Palestine led to further conflict in Alexandria, which had to be suppressed by the prefect Iulius Alexander, who ordered an attack on the Jewish quarter of the city.
On 1 July 69 AD, Iulius Alexander formally proclaimed Vespasian Roman emperor in opposition to Vitellius with the backing of the legions of Syria and Egypt. The new emperor went in person to Alexandria to ensure that the corn supplies to Rome were cut off if necessary, but received the news of the defeat of Vitellius and that he was recognized as emperor in Rome.
In the reign of Trajan was a major Jewish revolt, which affected most of the eastern provinces (115–117 AD). The Greek population was besieged in Alexandria until it was relieved by an army and fleet under Quintus Marcius Turbo. There were several battles before the uprising was suppressed. Turbo then ordered the rebuilding of the fortress of Babylon.
There was further civil disturbance in Alexandria in the reign of Hadrian, apparently over the housing of the sacred Apis bull. This is another instance of the violent outbursts resulting from religious matters that characterized the city. A rebellion in the reign of Antoninus Pius (reigned 138–161 AD) is badly documented, although one (not entirely trustworthy) source claims that the prefect was killed. There was a much more widespread Egyptian rebellion in the reign of Marcus Aurelius that began with the Boukoloi. The rebels nearly captured Alexandria but were defeated by the governor of Syria, Avidius Cassius, in 172 AD. Following a false report of the emperor’s death, Avidius Cassius was proclaimed emperor (175 AD) supported by the prefect of Egypt, Caius Calvisius Statianus, but the rebellion came to a swift end.
The emperor Caracalla visited Alexandria in 215 AD. Caracalla sought to emulate some of the great heroes such as Alexander the Great and Achilles and as a result had been mocked by the Alexandrians. In revenge, Caracalla ordered the massacre of a large number of citizens, and the city was divided into two parts with a wall. The emperor also installed the legionary troops inside the city rather than, at Nikopolis, outside. Following Caracalla’s death and the accession of Macrinus (in 217 AD), new conflict broke out in Alexandria. Elagabalus, claiming to be Caracalla’s son, was proclaimed emperor by the Syrian troops and supported by the Roman garrison in the city, but the citizens and the new prefect opposed him. Battle ensued in which the military triumphed after considerable bloodshed on both sides. From this time on, both Egypt and Alexandria ceded their importance in the empire: the country, as a corn supplier, to Africa, and the city, to Antioch.
There was further fighting between factions in the reign of Valerian (253–260 AD). In 262 AD, the Alexandrine mob proclaimed the prefect Marcus Iulius Aemilianus emperor. After some successes in Upper Egypt, supporters of the emperor Gallienus arrived in Alexandria, and the city was divided into two warring factions. The troops of Gallienus ultimately won, and Aemilianus was captured and sent to Rome. Alexandria was left a wreck with a much-reduced population. Shortly afterward, in 268 AD, Alexandria was captured by the Palmyrene army of Zenobia. Shortly after his accession in 270 AD, the emperor Aurelian went in person to regain control of Egypt. He was partly successful, ousting the Palmyrenes from Alexandria. Also at this time sources claim that an Alexandrian merchant, Firmus, attempted to proclaim himself emperor.
In about 296 AD, Alexandria again proclaimed a rival emperor, the Roman officer, Lucius Domitius Domitianus. The emperor Diocletian had to come in person to restore order. Alexandria was besieged for several months, before being captured, probably in 298 AD.
Under the later Roman Empire, a new source of civil dissension in Alexandria was the rapid spread of Christianity. The fourth and fifth centuries were marked in Alexandria by religious disputes that sporadically erupted in violence. They began with a major theological controversy between the Bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius, and his rival, Arius, that was only partly resolved by the Council of Nicaea (325 AD). The “Arian” dispute continued to erupt in succeeding reigns and violence was frequently associated with the imposition of bishops from Constantinople. Later in the fourth century, the resurgence of paganism, in the reign of Julian (361–63 AD), led to riots and attacks on temples, particularly that of Sarapis, which was one of the greatest symbols of paganism in Alexandria. In 391, Theodosius I proclaimed Christianity the state religion and ordered the closure of the temples. There was still a flourishing philosophical school at Alexandria, and the savage murder of Hypatia, a leading Neoplatonist, at the instigation of the bishop of Alexandria, and the violent destruction of the temple of Sarapis, reveals the continued tensions in the city. Even after Christianity had triumphed, the installation of Alexandrian bishops was usually marked by riots.
In the reign of Phocas (602–610 AD), Heraclius rebelled against the emperor and his troops landed in Egypt, gaining Alexandria, which they held against Byzantine reinforcements. Shortly after Heraclius was recognized as emperor (610 AD), the forces of the Sasanid king of Persia, Khosroes II, captured Egypt, and Alexandria was filled with refugees. It was 10 years before Heraclius could recover Egypt, but only briefly. The capture of Alexandria in 642 AD marked the fall of Byzantine Egypt to the Arab forces of ‘Amr Ibn-al ‘asî.
ALEXANDRIAN WAR (48–47 BC). The principal historical sources are the work entitled the Civil War (De bello civico) written by Iulius Caesar and its continuation On the Alexandrian War (De bello Alexandrino), which was probably written by one of his officers. Following his defeat by Caesar, the Roman general Pompey had fled to Egypt, which had previously supported his cause. On his arrival, however, the young Egyptian pharaoh, Ptolemy XIII, ordered his murder. Four days later Iulius Caesar arrived in pursuit of Pompey, with 10 warships and a force of 3,200 infantry and 800 cavalry. Shortly afterward, Kleopatra VII, who had been ousted by her brother, managed to gain entry to Alexandria and access to Caesar, who attempted to reinstate her alongside her brother. Ptolemy XIII was popular in Alexandria, and his courtiers tried to prevent a reconciliation with Kleopatra.
Ptolemy recalled the Egyptian army, including a Roman contingent, the Gabinians, under the command of Achillas. Caesar was taken by surprise as the army marched on Alexandria and did not have enough troops to risk confrontation outside of the city. Caesar now took Ptolemy hostage, and as a result, a nationalist, anti-Roman mood soon grew in Alexandria. The war in the city began in November 48 BC and was concentrated around the Great Harbor and the palace quarter. Caesar managed to capture the Egyptian royal fleet of 72 ships, but in order to prevent it falling into enemy hands, set it on fire. Another Ptolemaic princess, Arsinoe, managed to escape from the palace, and joining Achillas, was proclaimed queen by the Alexandrians. Caesar released Ptolemy XIII from custody in the hope that peace could be negotiated, but the pharaoh immediately joined his army.
Power struggles among the different leaders of the Egyptians resulted in the death of Achillas. In March 47 BC, Caesar’s relieving army under the command of Mithridates of Pergamon approached Pelusion from Judaea. It included a contingent of Jewish troops and the Jewish high priest Hyrcanus himself. This won over the Jews of Alexandria to Caesar and Kleopatra. The army skirted around the Delta and approached Alexandria where they confronted the army of Ptolemy XIII. Caesar and his force managed to leave the city and join with Mithridates, and the decisive battle took place on 27 March 47 BC. The Egyptian army was defeated and Caesar returned triumphantly to Alexandria. The young pharaoh Ptolemy fled, and was drowned, and Arsinoe was captured and sent to Rome. Kleopatra was restored as ruler, in association with a younger brother, Ptolemy XIV.
AMANIRENAS (fl. 30–20 BC). Meroitic Kandake (queen). Amanirenas was probably the ruler of Meroe who led her forces into Lower Nubia and confronted the Roman army of Augustus, under the prefect, Petronius.
AMARNA LETTERS. A collection of clay tablets with texts written in the Akkadian language found at the site of el-Amarna (the ancient city of Akhetaten) in Middle Egypt. They are a part of the diplomatic correspondence of the reigns of Amenhotep III, Akhenaten, and Tutankhamun, mostly letters received from other rulers, such as Tushratta of Mitanni, or Egyptian vassals in the Levant. They are valuable source of information on local affairs in the Levant and north Syria and for diplomatic marriage and gift exchange. The principal towns and territories mentioned are: Alashiya (Cyprus), Amurru, Assyria, Arvad, Babylon (as Karduniash), Byblos (Gubla), Canaan (as Kinakhkhi), Gaza, Hanigalbat (Mitanni), the Hittites, Jerusalem, Joppa (Yapu), Lachish, Lukki, Megiddo, Niy, Nukhasse, Qadesh, Sumur, Tunip, Tyre, and Ugarit.
AMASIS. See AHMOSE II.
AMENEMHAB (fl. c. 1460–1400 BC). Amenemhab served in the campaigns of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II. He left an autobiographical inscription in his tomb at Thebes but this is not strictly chronological. He records his service in the sixth campaign of Thutmose III (year 30) directed against Qadesh; the eighth campaign (year 33) and the capture of Sendjar, three battles in Naharin and the elephant hunt in Niy; the year 35 campaign in Takhsy; that of year 39 in the Negeb; and that of year 42, which saw the capture of Qadesh.
AMENEMHAT I (reigned c. 1985–1955 BC). First pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty. He is generally identified with the Vizier Amenemhat who served Menthuhotep IV, but it is unknown how he attained supreme power. His reign saw military expansion in Nubia. He also defended the eastern frontier with the Walls of the Ruler. The papyrus document known as The Instruction of King Amenemhat I begins with the pharaoh’s description of his own murder, and the caution that his son should be wary of palace plots. The introduction to the Tale of Sinuhe also suggests that the pharaoh might have been murdered while his coregent, Senusret I, was on a campaign against Libyans.
Extensive campaigns in Nubia were led by the Vizier Inyotef-iqer and by Senusret I. The chronology of the actions depends on whether the idea of a coregency between father and son is accepted: it is a subject that still divides Egyptologists. There are indications in some of the rock inscriptions that document the campaigns that local Nubian rulers had assumed royal style in the late 11th Dynasty. Initially, there might have been no Egyptian opposition to them, and they might have been recognized as vassals. However, the Nubian kings seem to have asserted their independence in the reign of Amenemhat, and this could have stimulated the prolonged wars that brought the whole of Lower Nubia under Egyptian control, followed by the defense of the Second Cataract. An inscription of Inyotef-iqer alludes to “him who rebelled against the king.” Another text indicates that the Vizier and army had been active for 20 years in Nubia, and that the final act had been the sailing of the royal flagship through Lower Nubia, destruction of villages, and the cutting down of trees.
An Asiatic campaign might have been associated with the defense of the eastern border and the building of the Walls of the Ruler.
AMENEMHAT II (reigned c. 1922–1878 BC). Pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty. The documentation of foreign affairs in this reign is not as rich as that for his predecessors, Amenemhat I and Senusret I. There was a commercial expedition on the Red Sea to Punt and the building of the Nubian fortifications continued. An inscription beneath the defensive wall between the First Cataract and Aswan is dated jointly to Amenemhat II and Senusret II, suggesting that the wall, perhaps to be identified with the fortress of Senmut, was built at this time.
AMENEMHAT III (reigned c. 1855–1808 BC). Pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty. Although there are many monuments of this reign, none carry any specifically military information. It can be assumed that the building activities of his father, Senusret III, in the region of the Second Cataract were completed.
AMENHOTEP I (reigned c. 1527–1506 BC). Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. Son and successor of Ahmose I. His reign consolidated the achievements of his father. The military events are recorded in the autobiographical inscriptions of Ahmose son of Ebana and Ahmosepen-Nekheb. A campaign in Kush is referred to in the texts, and inscriptional material from the island of Sai suggests that the fortress there was built about this time. One fragmentary inscription attributed to the pharaoh indicates activities in Asia in the Orontes Valley near Tunip. Unfortunately, many monuments of this reign were later dismantled and evidence from them is only now being brought to light.
AMENHOTEP II (reigned c. 1427–1401 BC). Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. Son and successor of Thutmose III, with whom he appears to have ruled as coregent for two years. Literature generally, and unfairly, portrays him as a more bombastic, but less successful, ruler than his father. This reign saw the transition from war to diplomacy and gift exchange as the means of maintaining Egypt’s pre-eminence in western Asia. The principal record of his military activities is the stela carved in the sanctuary of the temple of Amada in Nubia. At the beginning of his sole reign, year 3, Amenhotep led a campaign against Takhsy (in Syria). Seven princes were captured and slain in the temple of Amun at Karnak. The bodies of six of them were displayed on the walls of Thebes and the seventh taken to the far south of Nubia, where it was hung from the walls of Napata “as a warning to the Kushites.” A second campaign in year 7 saw Amenhotep march his army across the Orontes, then south through Takhsy and Galilee. A further campaign in year 9 was directed against Qaqa, the chief of Qebaasumin, an otherwise unknown town near Megiddo. Qaqa was replaced with an Egyptian vassal.
The pharaoh’s so-called “Dream Stela” was discovered in 1936 on the northeast side of the great sphinx at Giza. The inscription is a key text for the militaristic ethos of the 18th Dynasty, of which Amenhotep was the model. It tells how the pharaoh is superior to all of the army in running, rowing, archery, and, most importantly, in driving chariots and training horses. Throughout the text, the prince is likened to the god Monthu. The text reports an episode in which the prince shoots arrows from his fast-moving chariot at copper targets one palm thick so that the arrows go right through the targets and appear on the other side. The prince is also said to be praised by the Asiatic deities Reshep and Astarte, both associated with warfare and chariotry.
AMENHOTEP III (reigned c. 1390–1352 BC). Pharaoh of the later 18th Dynasty. Son of Thutmose IV. In a long reign of 38 years, there are very few recorded military campaigns: one certainly in year 5 in Nubia, and perhaps two others. Egypt maintained her pre-eminent position in western Asia through diplomacy, diplomatic marriage, and gift exchange, all of which is detailed in the Amarna Letters.
AMENHOTEP IV. See AKHENATEN.
AMENMESSES (reigned c. 1202–1199 BC). Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty. During the reign of Merenptah, his son Sety was crown prince. At some point shortly after Merenptah’s death, a dynastic war broke out between the legitimate heir Sety II and a usurper, Amenemesses, who may have been his own son. Amenemesses’ monuments were most extensive in Upper Egypt, particularly Thebes. His rebellion and assumption of royal style appears to have had powerful support in Thebes and Nubia. Sety II appears to have retained control of the Delta and Memphis. The rebellion was suppressed and all of Amenmesses’ statues and monuments were recarved for Sety II. There is still uncertainty as to whether the four years of Amenmesses’ rebel kingship were concurrent with the years of Sety II, or preceded them.
‘AMR IBN-AL ‘ASÎ (c. 580–663 AD). Arab leader who entered Egypt with his army in the winter of 639 AD, via Rhinocolura (el Arish). He established himself at Pelusion, where he welcomed further Arab soldiers. In July 640 AD, he marched on the strategically significant fortress of Babylon (Old Cairo), defeating the army of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, at Heliopolis. The governor, Cyrus, sued for peace, but the emperor accused him of treason. Babylon was besieged, falling in April 641. Following the fall of Babylon, Amr marched on Alexandria and received the capitulation of the city after an 11-month siege. By 29 September 642 AD (21 Hijri), the last Byzantine forces had left Egypt to the Arab conquerors.
AMUN. Local god of Thebes whose importance increased from the 11th Dynasty onward. He was merged with the sun god Re, and from the 18th Dynasty became one of the state gods of Egypt with Re-Harakhty, Ptah, and the reigning pharaoh. Pharaohs are frequently depicted presenting captives, foreign countries, and their rulers to Amun, and receiving from him the khepesh-scimitar or other weapons of war. The Amada stele of Amenhotep II records that, following the capture of seven princes in his Syrian campaign, the pharaoh slew them in the temple of Amun at Karnak.
Although Amun himself was not specifically a war god, he charged the pharaoh with expanding his domain, advised him on tactics, and protected and guided him in battle. All of these roles can be found in the records of the battles of Megiddo and Qadesh. The “Poetical Stela” of Thutmose III is couched as a speech of Amun-Re, narrating the victories that the god has worked for the pharaoh. Pharaohs also presented booty from campaigns to the god’s temple at Karnak, which began to function as a royal treasury. Captured towns were also given to Amun, which probably indicates an annual levy was sent. Following the Megiddo campaign of years 22–23, Thutmose III gave the Lebanese towns of Nuges, Yanoam, and Herenku to Amun. The attachment of certain temples, lands, and revenues in Nubia to Amun’s sanctuary at Thebes is also indicated.
AMURRU. Territory in western Asia, somewhere in the modern Lebanon–Syria, lying between the Orontes Valley (to the east) and the Mediterranean (west), Arvad (north), and Tripoli (south). Its boundaries are uncertain. It figures prominently in the Amarna Letters, when its ruler, Aziru, gained control of Tunip, on the eastern border, and Sumur on the coast.
AMYNTAS (fl. 333 BC). Amyntas son of Antiochos was a Macedonian noble. He was a close friend and associate of Prince Amyntas who had a rival claim to the throne on the death of Philip II and the accession of Alexander the Great. When Prince Amyntas was put to death, Amyntas son of Antiochos fled to the Persian Empire, where he became one of four Greek commanders who served with Greek mercenary troops in the army of Darius III. Following the Persian defeat at the battle of Issos (Nov. 333 BC), they fled from the scene with the 8,000 troops under their command to Tripoli on the coast of northern Phoenicia, where their fleet was based. The force now seems to have divided, with Amyntas commanding 4,000 soldiers sailing for Cyprus. He now seems to have seen the opportunity, with the Persian forces in disarray, to seize Egypt. Arriving in Egypt at Pelusion, Amyntas announced that he was the advance guard for Darius. As soon as he gained control of the garrison, he began his advance on Memphis, now proclaiming himself a liberator from the Persians. There was some local Egyptian support for the invader, and he achieved a victory over the Persians at Memphis, forcing their withdrawal into the city. Amyntas’ army now began to plunder the countryside and became overconfident. The Persian satrap, Mazaces, launched an attack from Memphis, defeated the invaders, and put them to death.
AMYRTAIOS (1) (reigned c. 470–460 BC). Ruler of Sau in the western Delta who participated in the rebellion of Inaros against the Persian pharaoh, Artaxerxes I, between 463 and 461 BC. He sent aid to Athens in 450. He was grandfather of the pharaoh Amyrtaios (2).
AMYRTAIOS (2) (reigned 404–399 BC). (Greek form of the Egyptian name Amenirdis.) Pharaoh of the 28th Dynasty. The period from circa 440–380 BC was one in which rival warlords were competing for power, the Persians retaining nominal control until the death of Darius II, in 405. Then, Amyrtaios of Sau, who had been leading a guerrilla war for several years, successfully established himself with pharaonic titles and achieved some independence from Artaxerxes II (405–359 BC). Amyrtaios appears to have been defeated and captured by the dynast of Mendes, Nefaarud, who had him executed at Memphis, himself assuming royal style.
ANATH. Goddess, who originated in western Asia, particularly associated with Ugarit. She was sister of Baal. She is known in Egypt from the Middle Kingdom onward and her cult was favored by the Hyksos. By Ramesside times, she was a prominent goddess in the Delta, Ramesses II naming one of his daughters Bint-Anath (“Daughter of Anath”). Her violent aspect led her to be identified with the daughter of Re (Tefnut) and as a wife of Seth (himself equated with Baal). Anath is depicted wearing a tall crown, flanked with plumes, and carrying a shield, spear, and battle-axe. Anath protected the pharaoh in battle: a text of Ramesses III states that Anath and Astarte are his shield.
ANDROS. Naval battle of the Third Syrian War in 246 or 245 BC, in which the Egyptian Admiral Sophron was defeated by Antigonos Gonatas, king of Macedon. As a result of the battle, Gonatas gained control of the Cyclades (Andros is the most northerly of the group), and the Ptolemies lost Delos and were no longer able to interfere in the politics of the Greek mainland. Although defeated at Andros, Ptolemy III made gains in the eastern Aegean.
ANIBA (MI‘AM). Fortress and administrative center in Wawat (Lower Nubia). Standing on the west bank of the river, Aniba had no particularly important strategic position, but occupied a central position in one of the three major regions of cultivation in Lower Nubia. Archaeological evidence indicates the existence of a Middle Kingdom fortress, probably constructed under Senusret I. The fortifications were renewed in the New Kingdom when Aniba became one of the principal centers of the viceregal administration. It retained its importance until the late 20th Dynasty. It was perhaps during the civil war at the close of the 20th Dynasty that the hill of Qasr Ibrim, directly opposite Aniba, was fortified.
ANKHWENNEFER. See CHAONNOPHRIS.
ANNALS OF THUTMOSE III. The name given to the record of the military campaigns of Thutmose III inscribed on the walls of the hall surrounding the central sanctuary of the temple of Amun at Karnak (Thebes). The annals are apparently derived from the Day Books kept during the campaigns and are rare among Egyptian “historical” texts in their apparent factuality and lack of rhetoric. References within the annals refer to other original documents, written on leather rolls and preserved within the temple of Amun. The annals give details of the numerous Asiatic campaigns of the pharaoh’s sole reign following the death of Hatshepsut, beginning with the first campaign of years 22–23, and the battle of Megiddo, and including most Asiatic actions to year 42. The opponents specified are the Hittites, Naharin (Mitanni), the Shasu, and the prince of Qadesh. The texts place great emphasis upon the booty captured, including armor, weapons, chariots, and horses. There are also references to the tribute of Assyria, Cyprus, and the taxes of Wawat and Kush. Other incidents of the expeditions were the building of a fortress in Lebanon and an elephant hunt in Niy. The details are useful for calculating the rate of the army’s march. On the fifth campaign, aimed at Qadesh, the army sailed to and from Sumur. Some of the later entries in the original Day Books were possibly written by the chief army scribe, Tjanuni.
ANTIGONOS I MONOPHTHALMOS (c. 382–301 BC). Antigonos “the one-eyed” was a Macedonian nobleman who served Philip II and acted as governor of Phrygia at the time of Alexander the Great’s expedition. Following Alexander’s death at Babylon in 323 BC, he became a leading figure in the wars of the diadochoi (“Successors”), initially gaining control of a huge kingdom. While Ptolemy I was engaged in the campaign against Cyrene, Antigonos invaded and conquered Syria. In response, Ptolemy led his armies to Syria against Antigonos’s son, Demetrios, who had been left in control. Ptolemy’s fleet, under the command of his brother Menelaos, was defeated at Cyprus. Ptolemy I was part of the coalition that now formed to oppose the ambitions of Antigonos and Demetrios. Ptolemy aided the invasion of Babylon by Seleukos I in 311 BC, which led to full-scale war. Following the defeat of Ptolemy’s forces at Salamis in Cyprus in 306 BC, Antigonos attempted an invasion of Egypt. In October/November 306 BC, he set out from Antigoneia to Egypt with an army of over 80,000 foot soldiers, about 8,000 horses, and 83 elephants, 150 warships, and 100 troop transports commanded by his son, Demetrios. The fleet was scattered by storm but reassembled and re-established contact with the land force near Mt. Kasios (probably Ras Baron), a short distance beyond Pelusion. Ptolemy repulsed the invasion at Pelusion. Antigonos was later defeated and killed at the battle of Ipsos in 301 BC.
ANTIOCHOS IV (c. 215–164 BC). Seleukid king of Syria from 175 BC. He attempted to incorporate Ptolemaic Egypt and Cyprus into his empire, invading Egypt with his army in 169 BC and 168 BC, in the reign of Ptolemy VI. He acted, and may have been crowned, as king, but the Romans intervened and forced Antiochos to leave. He did, however, capture Jerusalem from the Ptolemies, turning it into a Greek city. This led directly to a rebellion by the Jews, led by Judas Maccabeus (168/7–164 BC), after which the high priest Onias and a large following settled in Egypt.
ANTONIUS, MARCUS (83–30 BC) (Mark Antony). Roman politician and general. His first visit to Egypt was as a cavalry commander when Aulus Gabinius was in Alexandria to restore Ptolemy XII Auletes (57–54 BC). Antonius then served with, or on behalf of, his relative Iulius Caesar in Gaul, Italy, and Greece. He was Caesar’s colleague as consul in 44 BC, and following his murder, one of the political heirs. He was made triumvir along with Octavian (see Augustus) and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, to restore order to the Republic, and undertook the reorganization of the eastern part of the empire. Antonius met Kleopatra VII at Tarsos in 41 BC. Although his actions in western Asia and Asia Minor were in many ways pro-Egyptian (and certainly painted that way by Octavian), Antonius did not take territory away from Herod of Judaea as Kleopatra wished. His campaign against Parthia (36 BC) was a disaster. In 34 BC, he was more successful in Armenia, and this was followed by the “Donations of Alexandria” in which Kleopatra and her children were named as rulers of most of the east. This was followed by increasingly hostile propaganda in Rome and, in 32 BC, many of Antonius’s remaining supporters among the nobility, including the consuls, were intimidated and left Rome for the east. Octavian declared war on Kleopatra, and the arena of action moved to Greece. Antonius retained considerable support until just before the battle of Aktion. It was supposedly Kleopatra who alienated the remainder of his most influential supporters. Antonius and Kleopatra managed to flee the disastrous battle and return to Egypt. Antonius remained at Paraitonion to prevent any attack by the governor of Cyrene who had gone over to Octavian. He eventually joined Kleopatra in Alexandria, where he committed suicide on Octavian’s entry into the city (August 30 BC). Although with Octavian’s victory, there was considerable propaganda hostility to Antonius, the sources still portray him as a fine general, with great personal charm, although with serious faults. Octavian’s ultimate victory was not expected, and apparently not sought for by a large proportion of the Roman nobility, Antonius retaining supporters throughout the east, right up to the final battle at Aktion. Excepting the “Donations of Alexandria,” which never came into effect, his political settlements in the east were left in place by Octavian.
APEPY (reigned c. 1585–1550 BC). Hyksos king of Avaris. His reign saw open war with the rulers of Thebes, Tao, and Kamose. The records of Kamose’s reign reveal that the Hyksos had been allied with the kingdom of Kush based on Kerma, and that with the accession of a new ruler, Apepy proposed a joint Hyksos-Kushite attack on the Thebans. If successful, this would have divided the whole of Upper Egypt between the two powers. Apepy’s letter was intercepted by Kamose’s desert patrol, apparently instigating the Theban ruler’s wars. It is not known whether Apepy was still king when Avaris was stormed by Ahmose I.
APIRU. Term found in a number of textual sources, notably the Amarna Letters. Earlier scholarship (reading the word Habiru) identified them with the Hebrews, but they are now understood to be a social, not ethnic, group, apparently comprising a range of people who had opted out of society. They were associated with brigandage and posed a threat to the transit of trade and the settled communities. From the time of Amenhotep III they are found in Amurru, and further south in Canaan, especially the hill country. As a response to the trouble they caused, Akhenaten deported some and installed a military governor in Jerusalem.
APRIES. See WAHIBRE.
ARABS. The term has been used rather loosely for nomadic people of the desert margin of the Near East from Sinai eastward into the Negeb and Arabia (the early archaeology of which is still inadequate). The Sinai region was home to the Shasu bedouin, who appear in many earlier texts. Arabs do not become more prominent until the end of the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Their encroachments on the settled areas of the Fertile Crescent were not as extensive as that of the Aramaeans, although increased in Seleukid and Roman times. Israel under Solomon expanded into the Negeb, but the Arabs first appear more prominently as tributaries to the expanding power of Assyria (ninth-eighth centuries BC). They controlled the direct routes, between southern Mesopotamia and the Levant, and the trade, principally incense, along the east coast of the Red Sea from Yemen.
The Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser III (reigned 744–727 BC) defeated the Me’unites, an Arab tribe of northern Sinai, in his advance on Gaza. The aid of these tribes was sought by armies attacking Egypt along the desert route of north Sinai, the Ways of Horus or Via Maris, because of the difficulties of the route: they certainly assisted the army of Esarhaddon. The battle reliefs of Ashurbanipal (reigned 668–631? BC) depict wars with Arabs, probably in north Arabia, in which the Arabs deploy archers mounted on camels. Nabonidus king of Babylon (reigned 555–539 BC) established a base in the oasis of Teima, apparently in an attempt to secure the trade routes. Arabia, probably north Sinai, appears as a satrapy under the control of Persia.
There were “Arabs” in Egypt during the Late, Ptolemaic, and Roman periods. The name of the pharaoh Hakor certainly means “Arab” but there is no evidence that his family were of Arab origin. Similarly, the name Khabbash is supposed by some to be Arab (although Libyan and Nubian are also suggested). During the Hellenistic period, the Nabataean Arabs of Petra controlled the trade from South Arabia along the Red Sea. This lasted until Trajan absorbed Petra into the Roman Empire. There is good evidence for migration and strong cultural influence from southern Arabia into Ethiopia in the later first millennium BC. This had an important influence in the development of the city and kingdom of Aksum (which later came to rival Meroe). Otherwise, there is little evidence for southern Arabia’s external affairs until the great and rapid expansion of the seventh century AD. The caliph Umar launched his armies against the Byzantine territories of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, and against the Sasanid ones of Persia and Mesopotamia. The Arab armies under ‘Amr Ibn-al ‘Asî entered Egypt in 639 AD, captured the fortress of Babylon and with the fall of Alexandria the last Byzantine troops left Egypt (642 AD, 21 Hijri).
ARAMAEANS. People of Syria who came to prominence with the collapse of the empires of the Late Bronze Age as rulers of many of the smaller kingdoms that formed coalitions against the expanding power of Assyria. There were movements of Aramaeans into the margins of Mesopotamia extending from Assyria in the north southward into Babylonia. The main Aramaean kingdoms of the early Iron Age (1200–900 BC) were Damascus and Bit-Bahiani (modern Tell Halaf). The names of the states generally carry the prefix Bit “House of” indicating their supposed tribal origin, for example, Bit-adini, Bit Agusi. They are closely associated in their opposition to Assyria with the neo-Hittites and the Arabs.
ARCHERS. The earliest depictions of weapons and soldiers on the ceremonial palettes of the late Predynastic and Early Dynastic Periods (such as the Hunter’s Palette) show archers. The earliest surviving fragments of a military scene of Old Kingdom date also show part of a contingent of archers. It dates from the reign of Khufu or Khafre. The bow remained the principal long-range weapon, and archers continued to form one major element of the army until the Ptolemaic period when the phalanx became more significant. The earliest type of bow, the self-bow, continued in use alongside the composite bow introduced from western Asia and was particularly associated with the contingents of Nubian mercenaries.
All soldiers in Egypt were foot soldiers until the introduction of the chariot at the beginning of the New Kingdom. The bow remained the principal weapon of the chariotry. New Kingdom battle reliefs show archers on foot and in chariots, which were used as moving fighting platforms. The mass burial of soldiers of the reign of Menthuhotep II reveals some of the types of wounds inflicted by archers during the siege of a town.
AREIKA. Site in Lower Nubia. The excavators suggested that it was the “castle” of a local Nubian ruler, but recent re-assessment of the material from the site by Josef Wegner proposes that it was a settlement of the local Nubian “C-Group,” which also had a garrison of troops with Egyptian commanders. The garrison at Areika was probably to control traffic along the Nile and people entering the valley from the desert.
ARMOR. Body armor and helmets are rarely shown being worn by Egyptian troops in battle scenes; they are usually seen wearing only the kilt. Armor is, however, depicted in some tomb scenes of the 18th Dynasty, notably that of Qenamun. Armor appears as part of the tribute to the pharaoh, or as the products of royal and temple workshops. It is also shown, along with weapons, being distributed in the battle scenes of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu. The Amarna Letters refer to armor and also to horse armor and helmets for horses.
A cuirass was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. It consists of scales of leather sewn onto a sleeveless linen bodice. Bronze could also be used for the scales. The textual records tell us that Ramesses II put on his coat of mail before the battle of Qadesh and is shown wearing such a coat in some battle reliefs. An identical type is shown in the gifts presented to Amenhotep II in the tomb of Qenamun.
ARMS TRADE. There is good evidence for the international arms trade during the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. In Egypt, there are scenes in private tombs and temples showing the presentation of “foreign tribute” to the pharaoh, which includes weapons, chariots, and horses. The Amarna Letters give much more detail about specific items and quantities and detail royal gift exchange. The archaeological evidence is more limited.
Both weapons and the knowledge of developments in military technology could be acquired through capture in battle and as booty, through “trade” and gift exchange, and from mercenary troops. The acquisition of chariots, horses, and other weaponry through booty and capture in battle must have been significant, particularly in the earlier part of the 18th Dynasty when chariots were a relatively new introduction. At the battle of Megiddo, Thutmose III captured 924 chariots (including two “of gold”) and 2,041 horses. In his campaigns, Amenhotep II captured 730 and 1,092 chariots. A record at Qasr Ibrim, also of the time of Amenhotep II, suggests that chariots had been captured in a military skirmish with Kushites.
Transferrable technologies. Although the Egyptians had to import horses from north Syria, they soon learned the arts of horse training and chariotry. They also soon began to manufacture their own chariots and presumably adapted it to conditions within Egypt. Scenes in a number of tombs show the manufacture of chariots, and some campaign scenes (relating to the battle of Qadesh) show repairs of chariots in the Egyptian camp. The timber used in chariot manufacture was imported from Syria and farther north. Also requiring imported materials was the composite bow (see bow, composite), and it has been suggested that all of these weapons were imported, rather than manufactured in Egypt. However, it is now clear that composite bows were made in Egypt and that materials such as birch bark could have been brought from long distances and still used.
Weapons trade. The “tribute” scenes and Amarna Letters detail the sending of chariots and horses to Egypt as part of the royal “gift exchange,” principally with Mitanni. A scene in the tomb of Horemheb at Saqqara (now in Leiden) shows Hittites bringing 12 horses (6 teams). The scene in the tomb of Meryre II at Amarna shows horses being brought by two different groups of Asiatics, one probably Hittites. Both groups bring a chariot (one six- and one four-spoked). The tribute scenes of the 18th Dynasty show a variety of weapons being brought from both Asia and Nubia. Fragments from the Theban tomb of Sebekhotep (reign of Thutmose III) show Nubians bringing spears. The scene in the tomb of Meryre II (reign of Akhenaten) shows composite bows, quivers, khepesh-swords, helmets, long spears, and shields as part of the Asiatic tribute, and bows and arrows and shields from Kush. The tribute scene from the tomb of the viceroy of Kush, Huy, who served under Tutankhamun, shows bows and arrows, shields covered in cowhide and cheetah-skin, gilded ceremonial shields, and a chariot, as part of the Kushite tribute. The weaponry is documented in more detail in the Amarna Letters. Of these, EA 22 is one of the most valuable for this subject. The letter contains part of an inventory of wedding gifts sent by Tushratta of Mitanni when Amenhotep III married his daughter. Of particular significance, it includes a number of iron objects including a dagger with an iron blade. Its guard and haft are described in detail and the whole has a striking parallel in the iron dagger from the tomb of Tutankhamun. There is also a mace of iron. Different types of arrows appear in large quantities as well as arrows “with thorns” and others to be shot flaming. There were 10 javelins with iron tips and 10 javelins with bronze tips; 10 maces; 10 “zallewe”-knives of bronze, and 10 spears.
Mercenaries. As well as being part of the arms trade itself, mercenaries were doubtless important in the dissemination of weapons and techniques of warfare. Egypt employed foreign mercenary troops, initially Nubians, from the earliest times. The rulers of western Asia particularly sought for Nubian troops in the Amarna Letters. There was an increase of mercenaries in the 19th Dynasty and some, such as the Shardana, with their peculiar helmets and weapons, are to be found both in the Egyptian army and fighting alongside the Libyans as enemies of Egypt. The Libyans themselves benefited from the arms trade as they are shown with chariots and horses and with weapons of distinctly western Asiatic types. The Libyans themselves employed mercenary troops, such as the Shardana, as is clear from the accounts of the Libyan Wars of Merenptah and Ramesses III. The evidence from centers, such as Pylos, Mycenae, and Knossos, shows that Greece and Aegean were part of the same networks. Western Anatolia and Cyprus probably provided the main link between Egypt, Crete, and Greece, although there is evidence of direct contacts in the reign of Amenhotep III. Nubia, too, must have benefited from the international arms trade. Although battle scenes show Nubian enemies conventionally as bowmen with relatively little equipment, there is evidence of the use of chariots by the elite, and the “tribute” scenes show weaponry and armor that was manufactured in Nubia. Chariots and horses were presumably given as gifts from Egypt, but the inclusion of chariots as part of the Kushite tribute to Egypt suggests that they, too, were eventually being manufactured in Nubia itself.
The Iron Age saw a change in the trade routes, but there is ample evidence from the Assyrian, and other, records for a similar arms trade. Israel under Solomon (reigned ca. 950–930/922 BC) seems, for a period, to have controlled the trade in horses throughout north Syria. The Assyrians imported horses from many surrounding regions. There is also good evidence that horse breeding developed in Kush. The Dongola Reach of the Nile was a horse-breeding area in medieval times and probably ancient times as well. The evidence that suggests that the Kushites were breeding horses comes from Assyrian texts of the eighth–seventh centuries BC and the inscription of Piye.
ARMY. The evidence for the Egyptian army comes from a variety of sources in art and literature, although none gives the detail that we have for, for example, the Hellenistic or Roman armies. A large number of terms are preserved in documents relating to the military bureaucracy, but few texts detail the numbers and functions involved. Function can generally be determined from context and lexicography, and some words, particularly those associated with chariots and horses, such as mariyannu, are foreign loan words.
The army fulfilled many functions in addition to its main one of fighting in battles and protecting frontiers. Bodies of troops were sent to escort trading expeditions (such as those to Punt) and diplomatic exchanges. The army played a significant role in building and quarrying, being used to guard and to convey stone. It also had an important role in royal and religious ceremonials. The scenes depicting the great religious festivals, such as Opet, show the army towing the river barges of the gods from the bank, accompanied by military musicians, notably trumpeters and Nubian drummers.
Old Kingdom. Conflict between groups of armed men is shown on monuments of the Predynastic Period, such as the Battlefield Palette. Nothing is known of the organization of these forces. During the Old Kingdom troops for campaigns were levied as necessary, although there must have been some more permanent military units, such as the royal bodyguard and garrisons stationed in key centers. The earliest depiction of the army in action shows a group of archers and is of the reign of Khufu or Khafre. The inscription of Weni indicates that local officials were responsible for conscription of troops as required, and also commanding them. The only unit mentioned is the Tjeset “battalion.” A number of officials carry the title imy-r mesha, Overseer of the soldiers/army or “General,” but they are nearly all recorded in texts relating to quarrying expeditions (three to Sinai, three to the Wadi Hammamat). At least two kings’ sons—Rahotep, the son of Sneferu (fourth Dynasty), and Kaemtjenenet, son of Isesi (fifth Dynasty)—were generals.
Middle Kingdom. During the First Intermediate Period the local nomarchs (governors of the administrative districts called nomes) raised forces and there is evidence for mercenary troops, mainly Nubians. There was certainly a standing army during the Middle Kingdom. The extensive campaigning in Nubia, and the establishment of the fortresses there with permanent garrisons, must have seen an increase in professional soldiers. The increase in terms employed also indicates an expansion of numbers and diversity of functions. An inscription of year 25 of Amenemhat III records that the army scribe traveled to the nome of Abydos to choose recruits (neferu). Another text states that a crown prince made a levy of one man in every hundred, in a limited area of the country.
New Kingdom. In the New Kingdom, there was an increased professionalization in all areas. The extent of the Egyptian Empire, with permanent garrisons, and the annual campaigning of pharaohs, such as Thutmose III, must have required a large standing army. By the reign of Ramesses II, there were four divisions of 5,000 plus men, mixed conscripts, and professionals. There is also some evidence for a form of national service. Changes in military technology meant that the New Kingdom army was divided between infantry (menfat or menfyt) and chariotry.
The army was commanded by the Pharaoh, with the Vizier and the army council. When in the field, there was a council of war. The role of the council in advising the pharaoh on tactics is detailed in the accounts of the battles of Megiddo and Qadesh and in the campaign of Piye, although the pharaoh usually chooses to adopt a different (and successful) course of action. An inscription of Horemheb indicates a division of the army into two corps, one for Upper and one for Lower Egypt, each under the command of the idnu of the army, who were responsible to a general. The early Ramesside army (Sety I) had regiments (sa) of 200 each with its standard bearer. These regiments were subdivided into platoons of 50 infantry under a “chief of 50” and squads of 10. By the reign of Ramesses IV, the principal unit was a company of five platoons, 250 men under the waretu of the army. Two companies formed a host (500+ men) and 20 companies one division (5000+). The army itself comprised three divisions named after the state gods of Egypt, Amun, Ptah, and Re. At times, there was a fourth division, named for Seth.
The army of the New Kingdom included large numbers of mercenaries. There were many Nubians, although these might also have been conscripted in the parts of Nubia directly administered by Egypt. In the Ramesside period, there were increasing numbers of troops from western Asia, Anatolia, and farther afield, such as the Shekelesh, Shardana, and Peleset. These usually have distinctive costumes and weapons. The Libyans also came to play a significant role.
The Egyptian expansion into Nubia and Asia led to the creation of some new military offices, particularly in relation to the command of fortresses and garrisons. In Nubia, the army was specifically under the command of the chief of bowmen of Kush, and not the viceroy, although the earliest viceroys were military officials.
As the art of chariotry became one of the distinguishing skills of the elite, so the royal princes and pharaohs were characterized as warriors in a way not previously found. This is particularly notable with Amenhotep II, whose inscriptions epitomize this new military ethos. The battle reliefs of Ramesses II show the pharaoh’s sons playing a significant role in the army. Monuments, inscriptions, and tombs document numerous military personnel of the New Kingdom (e.g., Ahmose son of Ebana, Ahmose-pen-Nekhbet, Amenemhab, Horemheb, and Tjanuni).
Third Intermediate Period. There is much less evidence from the Third Intermediate Period. The breakdown of Egypt and Nubia into a number of kingdoms and principalities would once again have seen smaller armies with local loyalties (or mercenaries), and under the command of the dynasts. The documentary evidence is rather limited, and although officials with military titles are known, actual conflict is detailed only in a limited number of texts, such as the inscriptions of the crown prince Osorkon. The most informative text is undoubtedly the inscription of Piye narrating the conflict with Tefnakht and the Libyan dynasts and the use of the fleet and siege equipment.
Late Period. The evidence is again limited. There are inscriptions of army and naval commanders, such as Wedjahorresne, but they give little detail of military action or organization. Herodotos claims that Egyptian society was organized in a system of castes, the most important of which were the priests and the military (machimoi).
From the reign of Psamtik I on, there were large numbers of mercenary troops in the Egyptian army, many coming from Asia Minor, notably Caria and the Greek towns of the western coast (Ionia). There is detailed evidence of the Persian garrison at Elephantine (Abu) with its large contingent of Jews and other Phoenicians and Syrians. The pharaohs who led Egypt’s final bid for independence from Persia employed whole forces of Greek mercenary troops and received considerable support from the city-states, such as Athens, and the rulers of the Aegean Islands, notably Cyprus.
Ptolemaic Period. The army of Ptolemy I was recruited from Greek and Macedonian soldiers who had served with him under Alexander the Great. Following the failed invasion of Egypt by Perdikkas (321 BC), many of the Macedonian troops stayed and enlisted in Ptolemy’s army. In a similar way, he gained many deserters following the attempted invasion of Antigonos Monophthalmos (306 BC). These troops were settled as cleruchs, notably in the Fayum region. This early Ptolemaic army was essentially Greek with some mercenary troops such as Gauls and Thracians. In organization, it was modeled on the Macedonian army in which the phalanx was the main heavy infantry fighting body, with light infantry (peltasts), cavalry, and the addition (copying the Seleukids) of elephants. The 20 years of peace at the end of the reign of Ptolemy III meant that the army lacked training and experience. According to Polybios, Egypt was no longer able to defend herself. Ptolemy IV therefore recruited Egyptians (machimoi) into the army. The victory of this new force at Raphia (217 BC) actually prompted civil war.
The later Ptolemaic army was increasingly influenced by Roman organization. It employed Egyptians as well as Greek settlers and mercenaries, notably Jews. The new structure was based upon the sêmeia (perhaps derived from the Egyptian demotic word seten) with probably six per regiment; each sêmeia was divided into two centuries commanded by hekatontarchoi and two pentekontarchia with a herald/trumpeter and standard-bearer (semeiophoros). The cavalry was divided into hipparchies of at least two squadrons (ilai), each ilê being at least 250. Ten hipparchies are attested.
Roman Period. The fall of Egypt to Augustus (30 BC) and the installation of the prefect saw the introduction of the Roman army into Egypt. Augustus himself reorganized the Roman army into a professional standing army of 25 legions. Each legion, totaling 6,000 men, was subdivided into 10 cohorts (600) of six centuries. The number of legions increased in the later empire, rising to 33 under the Severan dynasty (193–235 AD) and to 67 under Diocletian (reigned 284–305 AD). Many auxiliary troops were recruited from groups throughout the empire, included cavalry divisions (alae) of about 480–500 men divided into 16 troops.
Augustus stationed three legions in Egypt, but Legio XII Fulminata was transferred to Syria later in his reign. Legio XXII, Deiotariana, was named after Deiotarus, king of Galatia, who had formed it on the Roman model. It was incorporated into the Roman army by Augustus and stationed at Nikopolis (on the edge of Alexandria). It might have been destroyed in the Jewish rebellion of Bar Kokhba (132–135 AD). Legio III Cyrenaica was also stationed at Nikopolis by Augustus, where it remained until Trajan (reigned 98–117 AD) transferred it to Arabia, replacing it with the newly formed Legio II Traiana Fortis. The Notitia Dignitatum details the garrisons of the later third century. See also SOLDIER.
ARROWS. The shafts of arrows were generally made of reed, a readily available material. Some from the tomb of Tutankhamun were of wood. They were fletched with feathers, had nocks (to receive the bowstring) of wood, and were tipped with flint, obsidian, ebony, ivory, bone, hardwood, glass, and metal (copper, bronze, and iron). Surviving examples of arrows from the tomb of Maiherpri (all reed) were between 0.64 and 0.85 meters long (many damaged) and from the tomb of Tutankhamun up to 0.95 meter. The majority of arrows would have been manufactured in Egypt from locally available materials. A relief from an unidentified tomb at Saqqara shows an arrow maker checking the straightness of arrows. After battle, the arrows and arrowheads would have been collected. Amenhotep II records the capture of two bows (presumably composite) and a quiver full of arrows after a battle near the River Orontes on his Syrian campaign. Other sources show that arrows formed part of the arms trade. The Amarna Letters detail varieties of arrows sent from Mitanni. The different types of arrows were grouped as: 1,000 arrows, sharp, 2,000 arrows, and 3,000 arrows. In addition, there were specified types of 20 arrows “with thorns,” 20 arrows to be shot flaming and 20 arrows of “shukudu” type. The bodies of the soldiers of Menthuhotep II buried at Deir el-Bahari showed arrow wounds, and some fragments of ebony arrowheads were found.
ART. Images of war and violence in Egyptian art are common, but many of them are ideological rather than historical. The most common type shows the pharaoh (occasionally a queen) smiting an individual enemy, or group of enemies, usually in the presence of one or more deities, such as Amun or Re-(Harakhty). This image is found from the earliest periods (e.g., on the Narmer Palette) to the Roman period (in the temples of Esna and Dendera). It is a favored scene on the pylon gateways of temples, although can be found elsewhere. On the pylons, usually on a vast scale, the scene has the added significance of preserving the temple from the chaos of the real world and real time, since the temple is the image of the cosmos and of the moment of creation when perfection was achieved. The enemies are therefore symbols of universal threats to order and have no specific historical significance. In other contexts the subjugated groups can be given historical significance. If the image is of the subjugation of Nubians, Libyans, or Asiatics it may be due to the orientation of the scene: Nubians frequently being found on the south and others on the north of the temple axis. The location and purpose of the temple (i.e., in Nubia) might also be significant. However, the great relief of Sheshonq I at Karnak recording the Asiatic conquests of the pharaoh includes Nubians among the enemies he smites.
This type of image of the pharaoh as universal conqueror is taken a stage further with the image of the king as a human or hawk-headed sphinx. For a short period in the late 18th Dynasty, queens Tiye and Nefertiti, wives of Amenhotep III and Akhenaten respectively, were shown smiting and trampling in the form of a sphinx. They are specifically shown subduing the female enemies of Egypt as counterpart to the pharaoh and as a manifestation of the bellicose goddess Tefnut.
It was not only the foreign lands that were subjugated by the pharaoh, the rekhyt-people of Egypt itself were also. The pharaoh can be shown carrying a lapwing, the symbol (derived from the hieroglyphic writing) of the rekhyt, who were equally a threat to order. The pharaoh also trampled his enemies, collectively known as the Nine Bows, underfoot. This image is found in statue form, and bound captives, or bows, were depicted on the soles of the royal sandals, on the pharaoh’s footstool and dais, and painted on the floor of the throne room.
The temples were places in which battle scenes could be carved. They usually appear in the outer parts of the building on the pylons, the walls of the courts and outer halls, all of which were public areas, rather than in the inner halls and sanctuaries that were devoted to religious and offering scenes. Although the image of a smiting and conquering pharaoh is common, the surviving scenes that can actually be described, even loosely as “historical,” are very limited in number (see battle, representations of). The majority, in fact, is of the battle of Qadesh. Although the temples of gods do carry historical battle scenes, the temples of the pharaohs themselves (usually styled “mortuary temples”) were the most appropriate setting, and allowed the events of a reign to be presented as a royal self-justification. The best-preserved cycles of reliefs are in the temples of Ramesses II (“the Ramesseum”) and Ramesses III (Medinet Habu) at Thebes.
Tomb scenes very rarely show battles, although those of Kaemheset at Saqqara and Inti at Deshasheh, of the late Old Kingdom, and tombs at Beni Hasan do show attacks on fortifications, and hand-to-hand combat. In the New Kingdom, tomb scenes can be informative for the study of war in that they show weaponry and chariots and the military bureaucracy at work. Some of the most valuable scenes are those from the tombs of military officials, such as Horemheb and Tjanuni, which show the registering of recruits and other aspects of army life. Another important group of scenes are those that show gift exchange and reward. At Amarna, the tombs of the reign of Akhenaten contain many reward scenes, mostly showing gold and jewelry but also the gift of a pair of leather gauntlets to the chariotry officer, Ay. A similar pair is described in the Amarna Letters as a royal gift from the king of Mitanni, and a pair was discovered in the tomb of Tutankhamun. There are scenes in Theban tombs showing the presentation of “gifts” to the pharaoh. This took place at the New Year, the coronation, and other significant occasions. What is actually shown is the product of the royal and temple workshops. The tomb of Qenamun, particularly, depicts collections of weapons and armor, with the number of the amounts produced. These are some of the best representations. Indeed, in the case of armor, corselets and helmets are very rarely shown being worn. The presentation of foreign tribute includes weaponry and is a valuable source of information on the international arms trade.
ARTAXERXES I (reigned 465–424/423 BC). Great King of Persia and ruler of Egypt. The accession of Artaxerxes, in a palace coup, saw rebellion throughout the empire. In Egypt, Inaros, a ruler in the western Delta, and Amyrtaios (1), prince of Sau, were aided by a fleet from Athens. In the rebellion, Memphis was captured, and the satrap (the Persian viceroy) was killed in battle at Papremis, before the Egyptians and Athenians were besieged at Prosopitis in the Delta. The rebellion altogether lasted from about 462 BC until 454 BC.
ARTAXERXES II (reigned 405–359 BC). Great king of Persia and pharaoh of Egypt. On the death of Darius II (404 BC), Egypt had gained independence from Persia. In 373 BC, in an attempt to regain control of Egypt, Artaxerxes sent his army, led by Pharnabazos and the commander of the Greek mercenaries Iphikrates from Acre. They failed to enter via Pelusion, but breached the Mendesian barrier. There was disagreement between the two commanders, which allowed Nakhtnebef to surround and besiege them, until the inundation forced a Persian retreat.
ARTAXERXES III (reigned 359–338 BC). Great King of Persia and pharaoh of Egypt. Artaxerxes regained control of Sidon and Cyprus before turning his attention to Egypt, which had been independent of Persia for 60 years. The first invasion, in 351/350 BC, was driven back by the army of Nakhthorheb, but in 343 BC a second invasion was successful. Artaxerxes now had the advantage of two capable commanders, Bagoas and Mentor of Rhodes, and a large force of Greek mercenaries. The Persian army advanced to Pelusion, which was captured by Bagoas. Further Delta cities fell as the Persians advanced on Memphis. The pharaoh Nakhthorheb seems to have offered little resistance and reputedly fled to Nubia. Egypt once again came under Persian rule and a satrap was installed. Later texts, notably the Satrap stele of Ptolemy I (citing a decree of Khabbash), refer to devastation caused by the Persian invasion.
ARZAWA. Country in western Anatolia, neighbor to the Hittite empire. As the evidence for its position comes from Hittite texts, it is difficult to place Arzawa precisely, although it is thought to be very approximately where Lydia was in later times.
ASHURBANIPAL (reigned 668–631? BC). Late Assyrian emperor of the Sargonid dynasty. Shortly after his accession, Ashurbanipal made preparations for the invasion of Egypt. These included seeking the advice of the gods through omens. The events of the campaign are recorded on a clay prism known as the “Rassam Cylinder.” The army advanced rapidly toward Egypt, receiving the submission of the Levantine rulers who now accompanied him. The army engaged and defeated the joint Egyptian and Kushite forces of Taharqo at “Kar-baniti,” which is the Assyrian name for an Egyptian place, probably on the route from Pelusion toward Memphis. Taharqo himself was in Memphis. The text refers to another oracle given by the gods that Ashurbanipal had taken with him. A battle took place, presumably close to Memphis, which fell. Taharqo fled to Thebes and the Assyrians pursued, but the dynasts of the Delta rebelled. In response, the Assyrian armies attacked Sau, Tanis, and another Delta town, flaying rebels and hanging their skins from the walls. The princes were taken to Assyria, where some were executed. Only Nekau I and his son, the future Psamtik I, were spared. There might have been deportation of some of the rebel population and people from elsewhere in the Assyrian empire settled in Egypt.
Taharqo died during, or shortly after the invasion, and was succeeded by Tanwetamani, who immediately reoccupied Memphis and brought the Delta dynasts under his authority. Ashurbanipal now launched a second campaign (663 BC). Tanwetamani fled to Thebes and from there back to Nubia. Ashurbanipal’s army marched on Thebes and sacked it, carrying off its treasures to Assyria. Although Psamtik I was originally an Assyrian vassal, he gradually shook off control. Ashurbanipal, preoccupied with events on the other borders of his empire did not attempt to intervene again in Egypt.
Ashurbanipal’s military campaigns are recorded in annals and a series of reliefs from the palace at Nineveh. Some reliefs depicted the events in Egypt, but they have no accompanying texts. Of particular interest is the war against the Arabs, which shows Arab archers mounted on camels. A large series of oracle and omen texts supplements the annalistic material.
ASKUT. Island fortress in the Second Cataract to the north of, and within signaling distance of, Shalfak. It was part of the 12th Dynasty chain of forts inaugurated by Senusret I and completed by Senusret III. The plan was dictated by the topography of the site, resulting in a triangular fort with a regular town plan accommodating up to 200 men. Askut is unusual among the fortresses in that 22 percent of its total area is given over to granary buildings. It has been suggested that it served as a fortified grain store to supply the other fortresses of the cataract. It is estimated that, if full, the granaries had a potential capability of feeding up to 3,264–5,628 individuals for one year, more than any other fort in the region, even the great depot at Mirgissa. From Askut, signals were relayed northward via Murshid and Gemai to Mirgissa.
ASSYRIA. Kingdom of northern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), with its capitals at Assur, Nimrud, and Nineveh. Assyria enjoyed several phases of political and military expansion. The first major contacts between Assyria and Egypt are documented by the Amarna Letters and indicate the emergence of the Middle Assyrian Empire as a significant political force. By the reign of Ramesses II, Assyria under Shalmaneser I was able to dispose of the final fragment of the kingdom of Mitanni, bringing its western borders directly up to those of the great king of the Hittites, Hattusili III. Direct military involvement with Egypt came in the Late (or Neo-) Assyrian Empire which, from the ninth century BC, gradually expanded throughout western Asia to Egypt itself.
Assyria’s westward expansion began in the ninth century BC with Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 883–859 BC), Shalmaneser III (reigned 858–824 BC), and Tiglath-pileser III (reigned 744–727 BC). This has been attributed to developments in military technology, notably the increase in iron weapons, but could result as much from the organization and discipline of the Assyrian army (the achievement of Tiglath-pileser III). Undoubtedly, there were military developments during the Late Assyrian Empire, notably the increased use of cavalry over chariots.
Initially, Assyrian expansion established a sphere of influence throughout western Asia from Aleppo to Damascus and the Levantine coast, but with constant rebellion, this tributary area eventually became an empire with Assyrian governors. Egypt aided some of these rebellions, sending contingents of troops to the battle of Qarqar (853 BC). Assyrian activities brought her armies ever closer to the borders of Egypt. Although there is no evidence of direct conflict at this time, Gaza, which was usually an Egyptian vassal, was taken, and the frontier between the two states was established at the Brook-of-Egypt (el Arish).
With the fall of Egypt to the Kushite pharaohs of the 25th Dynasty, a more anti-Assyrian foreign policy emerged, with the Kushites acting as protectors of the states of western Asia. This was partly out of self-interest, although the Kushites might have harbored ambitions of their own. The first diplomatic contacts are recorded in the reign of Sargon II, relating to the flight of Iamani, ruler of Ashdod, to seek the protection of the Kushite king. The first direct conflict known came in the reign of Shabaqo, who sent his armies to the aid of Hezekiah of Judah. The Egyptian-Kushite forces clashed with the army of Sennacherib at the battle of Eltekeh (701 BC). This led, in the reigns of Esarhaddon (reigned 680–669 BC) and Ashurbanipal (reigned 668–631? BC), to the Assyrian invasion of Egypt itself. The Kushite pharaoh Taharqo (reigned 690–664 BC) had to confront Assyrian invasions by Esarhaddon. Battles were fought at Ishkhupri, and outside Memphis, which was sacked. Taharqo’s successor, Tanwetamani (reigned 664–656 BC), had to face another invasion by Ashurbanipal, and this time the Assyrians reached Thebes. The Assyrians had some support in Egypt from the Libyan dynasts, acting out of self-interest, most notably the rulers of Sau (Sais), Nekau I, and Psamtik I (reigned 664–610 BC). However, once Psamtik I had regained control of the whole of Egypt, he was able to throw off the Assyrian yoke, aided by problems on the other frontiers of the Assyrian Empire. Assyria itself fell to the expanding empire of Babylon under Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar II.
ASTARTE. Goddess of Canaanite and Syrian origin, the western Asiatic equivalent of the Mesopotamian Ishtar, Astarte was introduced into Egypt in the 18th Dynasty. Astarte was a warrior goddess who had a close association with horses and chariots. In the description of his military abilities as a youth, Amenhotep II tells how he was given the best horses from his father’s stables and that because of his skill with them “Reshep and Astarte rejoiced over him.” Like other Asiatic goddesses, Astarte became associated with the ferocious Egyptian deities given the title “daughter of Re” (Sakhmet and Tefnut) and became a wife of Seth.
ASWAN. Town on the southern frontier of Egypt and Nubia, at the foot of the First Cataract. Aswan (Greek Syene from Egyptian Sunet “a market”) stands on the east bank of the Nile opposite the island of Abu (Elephantine). It was the site of a fortress, referred to in Aramaic documents of the Persian period as Sun Byrta.
Even after the expansion into Nubia, Aswan retained the characteristics of a frontier town and served as a supply and administrative depot and the place from which military actions into Nubia were launched. There were major defensive works in the Aswan region, with references to the fortress of Aswan, the fortress of Abu (Elephantine) and the fortress of Senmut. This last is usually assumed to be the island of Bigga, at the head of the cataract and opposite the presumed location of the harbor. However, it has recently been suggested that, rather than being isolated on the island of Bigga, the fortress of Senmut was actually the whole of the area between Aswan town and the head of the cataract defended by a massive mud-brick wall, fragments of which are still extant.
The wall, some 7.5 kilometers long, was built on elevated ground of mud brick, reinforced with reed mats and granite rubble. With a thickness of 10 cubits (5.25 meters) at the base, its height would have been up to twice that. A glacis of 35 degrees defended its outer face. There is no evidence for towers along its length, but its scale might have served as an adequate defense. The stela of the official Hepu, dated to the coregency of Amenemhat II and Senusret II and recording the inspection of forts of Wawat in year 35, is carved on a boulder crossed by the wall. This, and the size of the bricks, would suggest a construction date of the time of Senusret II. A similar wall ran for 5 kilometers between the fortresses of Semna to Uronarti at the Second Cataract. It is to be assumed that the wall connected with a fortress at both the Aswan and harbor ends. Between Aswan and the harbor was a military road, along which are rock inscriptions recording military campaigns by Sety I.
Along the same route as the wall (which had doubtless fallen into ruin long before), there is evidence for three Roman watchtowers at Gebel Boas, Tell Asmar, and on the plain of Shellal. These probably relate to a whole network of such towers throughout Upper Egypt: others are known at Dendur and north of Edfu. The fort of Diocletian, Legio I Maximiana Filas, was presumably located in a similar position to the pharaonic harbor, opposite the island of Bigga. On the outskirts of the modern town are the remains of the Byzantine town walls, which include blocks from dismantled Roman temples.
On the west bank of the river, the rock-cut tombs of the elite include those of the governors of the border in the Old Kingdom, including that of Harkhuf, who led several peaceful expeditions to Yam in the Sixth Dynasty. A high point marked by Gebel Tingar, the “Rock of Offerings,” is where the desert road began. This regained the Nile near Toshka in Lower Nubia and was frequently used during the Old Kingdom. The Monastery of St. Simeon stands at the end of a wadi opposite the southern tip of the island of Abu. Like most monasteries, it is defended by high walls and might have been adapted from a Roman guard station.
Throughout the Aswan region are numerous rock inscriptions, many of which record military expeditions or individual officials associated with the administration of Nubia. The mountain of granite boulders at the southern end of the island of Sehel has a particularly large number of such votive inscriptions, many left by officials on their way into Nubia. The rock of Konosso has some important inscriptions relating to campaigns. There are inscriptions relating to the campaign of Psamtik II on the southern end of Bigga Island and on Abu itself.
ATHENS. City of mainland Greece, with surrounding state of Attika. In the sixth–fourth centuries BC, it was one of the main political and military powers of the Greek world. Athens became a center of opposition to the empire of Persia. As such, it both aided anti-Persian rebellions and received support from independent or rebellious states. Athens lent considerable support to the major, if ultimately disastrous, rebellion of Inaros. This military support from Athens was reciprocated by local rulers of the Delta who sent corn to Athens in times of famine. The Athenian general Chabrias was hired by the pharaoh Hakor, but he was recalled to Athens on the intervention of the Persians. The last military contact was the Ptolemaic involvement in Athens during the Chremonidean War (268/265–262/261 BC). See also SPARTA.
AUGUSTUS (63 BC–14 AD). Roman politican, general, and first emperor. Born Caius Octavius, he was the great nephew of Iulius Caesar and one of his closest male relatives. Caesar adopted him as his heir (when he became Caius Iulius Octavianus, “Octavian”). In the power struggles following Caesar’s murder in 44 BC, Octavian allied himself with Marcus Antonius and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus forming the Triumvirate. During the following years, Octavian was able to establish himself, and promote himself as the defender of Italy, while Antonius was involved in the eastern Roman provinces and increasingly with Kleopatra VII in Alexandria. The alienation of Octavian and Antonius led ultimately to civil war, culminating in the defeat of the fleet of Antonius at Aktion in 31 BC. Octavian pursued Antonius to Alexandria, which he captured. Following the death of Kleopatra, Egypt was absorbed into the Roman Empire, but there were further military actions by the newly appointed prefect to impose full control. In 29 BC, Cornelius Gallus suppressed a rebellion of the Thebaid and took his army into Lower Nubia leading to the installation of a tyrannos in the Dodekaschoinos. Octavian himself was now unassailable politically, supported by the captured wealth of Egypt. In 27 BC, he formally “restored the republic” reinstating the Roman magistrates, senate, and constitution, in return for which he was given the title “Augustus” (Sebastos in the Greek-speaking east). There were further problems on the southern frontier, leading to a second campaign into Nubia, led by the prefect Caius Petronius. This was claimed to have reached Napata, although the towns named are predominantly in Lower Nubia, such as Qasr Ibrim.
AURELIAN (reigned 270–275 AD). Roman emperor. Lucius Domitius Aurelianus rose to high military rank, becoming chief commander of the cavalry. He was proclaimed emperor by his troops shortly after the death of Claudius II as rival to Quintillus. The disputed succession, and the invasions of the empire on the Danubian front, enabled the already powerful kingdom of Palmyra under Zenobia to take Egypt and parts of Asia Minor. In 272 AD, Aurelian was able to lead his armies to the east, defeating Zenobia’s forces at Antioch and Emesa and driving them back to Palmyra, which was besieged. Palmyra and Zenobia were captured, but Aurelian returned the next year to suppress rebellion in Palmyra and associated turmoil in Egypt, where the Palmyrene soldiers had joined forces with the Blemmyes. There was a siege of the foreign troops within Alexandria, which was captured, and its walls were destroyed. The rebellion of Firmus in Alexandria reputedly occurred in this reign.
AVARIS. The Greek form of the ancient Egyptian name, Hut-waret. Avaris was the capital city of the Hyksos in the eastern Delta, the modern site of Tell ed-Dab‘a. It was attacked and eventually captured by the Theban princes who reunited Egypt in the late 17th and beginning of the 18th Dynasties. Although the wars with the Hyksos began in the reign of Tao, the first documented attack on Avaris was in the reign of Kamose. This did not capture or destroy the city, and the lapse of time before his successor, Ahmose I, began his wars must have enabled the Hyksos to recoup and redefend the city. The Theban assaults on Avaris are narrated in the autobiographical text of Ahmose son of Ebana. They involved the navy, and the city might have been protected by canals as well as the Nile branch.
AXES. From the earliest times, one of the commonest weapons of war, used for hand-to-hand combat. Originally, the war axe was hardly distinct from that used in woodworking. During the Old Kingdom, it had a semicircular head with lugs, perforated for attachment to the wooden haft. In the Middle Kingdom, a similar type continued, but it was larger with three lugs or “tangs” to attach it to the haft. Another type had a longer, rather than semicircular, blade. In the New Kingdom, the long, more rectangular, blade was favored. A type of halberd is also attested. This was an elongated tanged blade attached to a long shaft. Ceremonial axes with openwork designs are also known. The earliest blades were of flint; later copper and bronze were used. Hand-to-hand combat with axes is depicted in the Old Kingdom tombs of Kaemheset at Saqqara and Inti at Deshasheh. Numerous examples of axes survive. They are also frequently depicted in scenes of the army, such as the contingents of troops depicted in the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari (Thebes). In the tomb of Qenamun at Thebes, statues of Amenhotep II are shown—in which the pharaoh wears the short kilt and cut leather apron—carrying an axe.