The Military in New Kingdom Egypt

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‘Explain the role and importance of the military in New Kingdom Egypt.’

In New Kingdom Egypt, the military became very important. The army evolved from being a disorganised band of conscripted peasants into a lethal, professional outfit well equipped and ready for combat. Egypt became the most expansionist it had even been in its history. The emergence of Egypt’s army started in the 18th Dynasty when Ahmose expelled the Hyksos from Egypt. Tuthmosis I and Tuthmosis III and also Ramses II and Ramses III further maintained Egypt’s military strength in campaigns ranging from Nubia to Syria.

Prior to the New Kingdom in Egypt, the country’s military was an unprofessional group made up at different times of peasants, Nubian and Greek mercenaries and the King’s personal troops. In the New Kingdom, this changed dramatically. For the first time Egypt had a standing army, and being a soldier brought prestige and social standing as it had not done in the past. With the advances in the way the army was made up, there were also major advances in the equipment they used. For the first time body armour was used, as well as the sickle sword.

During the 18th Dynasty in Egypt, Ahmose brought military to the fore of Egyptian life. He was the first king of the 18th Dynasty and probably ruled from 1539-1514 BC. Ahmose attacked Avaris and subsequently the Palestinian fortress of Sharuhen to end the Hyksos’ reign over Egypt. Ahmose then turned to Nubia and Egypt’s land grew south to the Second Cataract. After this Ahmose returned his attentions to Palestine and may have led campaigns as far as the Euphrates.

Tuthmosis I followed soon after Ahmose’s reign and was highly trained in military practises. He only ruled for a short time – around 1493-1481 BC. However Tuthmosis I was a very effective general and in several campaigns, Tuthmosis I reached Argo, the Third Cataract, in Nubia and also the Euphrates River – while fighting the Syrians. He also...
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