Introduction - Ancient Egyptian WeaponsAncient Egyptian weapons evolved over the thousands of years that the ancient Egyptian military existed. In the early years of ancient Egypt weapons were relatively simple and as time went on they became more advanced as the Egyptians incorporated and improved weapons used by their enemies and as they used new materials, such as iron, that became available. On this page you will find interesting kid-friendly information about the weapons used by the ancient Egyptian military including a list of what weapons they used and facts about how they were used.
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Interesting Ancient Egyptian Weapon Facts
- Typical ancient Egyptian weapons included bows and arrows, spears, slings, maces, daggers, and throw sticks.
- Early on weapons made of stone and wood were used. Overtime the military used new materials to make their weapons. In the Middle Kingdom (2055 BC - 1650 BC) they began to use bronze, a mixture of copper and tin, to make lighter and sharper weapons. In the New Kingdom (1550 BC - 1069 BC) iron, a much stronger material, began to be used.
- The ancient Egyptians would often incorporate new weapons used by their enemies and from lands that they conquered. As an example of learning from their enemies, the ancient Egyptians began to use chariots in warfare. The chariot had been used by the Hyksos to conquer parts of Egypt. Eventually the Hyksos were driven out of Egypt and the Egyptians began to use this weapon.
Ancient Egyptian Weapons List
Bow and Arrow
- The main weapon used by the ancient Egyptians was the bow and arrow.
- At first they used simple wooden bows but eventually, when introduced by the Hyksos, started using composite bows which were made of different materials. These bows were more flexible than wooden bows allowing for arrows to be shot further and faster.
- The bow and arrow was used by both foot soldiers and by soldiers on chariots. The speed of the chariots combined with the long range capability of bows and arrows made for a dominate weapon on ancient battlefields.
- Early on arrowheads were made of stone or obsidian (a volcanic glass), later on bronze was used followed by iron around 1000 BC.
- The chariot was introduced into Egypt by their enemies the Hyksos, who at one point conquered lower Egypt.
- The war chariot was an important military vehicle for ancient Egypt.
- The Egyptians improved the chariot design of the Hyksos making their chariots lighter and faster.
- Chariots were usually manned by two warriors; a driver and a second warrior who would use weapons such as a bow and arrow, axe, spear or a sword.
- The spear, initially used for hunting, was used as a weapon starting in the earliest days of ancient Egypt.
- The spear can be used for throwing or thrusting; however when the Egyptians started utilizing bows and arrows the spear was mainly used as a thrusting weapon.
- The material used for spear heads progressed through the years from stone and obsidian, to bronze, and then to iron.
- Warriors on chariots would often keep a spear with them so as not to be weaponless when they ran out of arrows.
- Slings were simple weapons consisting of a strap used to hurl rocks or metal balls.
- This was not the weapon of choice for warriors but was utilized when no better weapon was available.
- Throwing Sticks were one of the earliest weapons used by the ancient Egyptians.
- This weapon was simply a short stick or club that was thrown at the enemy.
- The ancient Egyptians also used throwing sticks for hunting; in fact the famous King Tutankhamun was known to use them for duck hunting.
- There were two types of axes used by ancient Egyptian warriors, the cutting axe and the piercing axe.
- The cutting axe had a long handle enabling the warrior to attack an enemy from a safer distance than a shorter weapon. This type of axe was most effective against enemies wearing little or no armor.
- The piercing axe was developed later than the cutting axe and was designed to penetrate through armor.
- The ancient Egyptian warriors used a sword called a Khopesh. There were several different styles of this sword used some with curved blades and hooks that could be used to pull down an opponent’s shield.
- The typical sword was about two feet long.