Khopesh fighting techniques

Oct 2013
6,066
Planet Nine, Oregon
#11
Khopeshes were used with the convex sharpened edge as the business side. I don't think they were used to hook shields; many would be bad at that anyway. Similar to what Dan says, they were used similar to an axe, in conjunction with shields often, to cleave through or crush exposed body parts, arms , necks, wrists, etc. An overhand downward or diagonal blow would seem most appropriate for them. They were carried in a manner so that if they were accidentally dropped they would not would the bearer; some are shown with sheath-like edge protectors fasted to them to prevent accidental wounds. There are actualy two types referred to as a "khopesh" one is more like a sickle sword, the other is like a large single-edged curved knife, and is likely an older native Egyptian weapon.
 
Likes: Jack Judah
Jul 2018
25
Colorado
#12
Though I dont know much of how a Khopesh was used in battle, it does make me wonder why it was eventually phased out or otherwise was stopped being produced.
AlpinLuke makes good points about the evolution of shields, and is, I think, right for blaming the coming of the Iron Age. But I think there may be an even simpler reason for the Khopesh being phased out: the shape of the blade. That curve would've been a bitch for smiths to forge in any quantity. Not a problem when they were using bronze, but the switch to iron would've made mass manufacture a nightmare.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
25,208
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#13
I think that temperature was a problem as well.
The khopesh came from a mould, no need to work the alloy [it wasn't wrought, substantially]. To have moulds ready to "welcome" melted iron was a different matter. Complicated forms or great masses of melted iron were a problem, so that they worked the metal in a second time, hitting it with a hammer.
 
Aug 2014
4,010
Australia
#14
The khopesh is starting to attract the same sort of hype as the katana. I don't think the khopesh was effective. If it was, it would have seen use for a lot longer into the Iron Age. We have a few iron examples, but not many, and none were made from molten iron because no swords were made from molten iron in the Iron Age. The most successful sword ever made was the Naue II, which is as far from the khopesh as one can get.

No one-handed sword can cut through any kind of shield or armour, so shield development had nothing to do with the khopesh being phased out. IMO it only held on as long as it did because of tradition.
 
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Jul 2018
25
Colorado
#16
A particular technique.

There are depictions showing Egyptian soldiers carrying the khopesh in the opposite way, to use it as a hook. In this case it's probable that the khopesh hooked the shield of the enemy to move it, then the soldier turned the khopesh to hit [the defender needed time to regain the control of the shield].
Thanks Luke! Good link too. I think you've described a very plausible technique. Used in a melee situation, I could see it being a very unpleasant tactic to deal with.
 
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Jul 2018
25
Colorado
#17
Similar to what Dan says, they were used similar to an axe, in conjunction with shields often, to cleave through or crush exposed body parts, arms , necks, wrists, etc. An overhand downward or diagonal blow would seem most appropriate for them.
Overhand or diagonal makes sense. Although that kind of exposed swinging seems like a bad idea considering the prevalence of daggers and other thrusting weapons on the battlefield.

They were carried in a manner so that if they were accidentally dropped they would not would the bearer; some are shown with sheath-like edge protectors fasted to them to prevent accidental wounds.
I've never noticed those protectors. Any chance you can link me an image or point me in the right direction? Curious.
 
Oct 2013
6,066
Planet Nine, Oregon
#19
I think it's in Yadin's "Art of..". My Egypt books are packed away.
It shows warriors carrying khopeshes over their shoulders and the outlines of a covering probably leather covers the sharp portion. it's a leather rectangle folded over the blade extendi g to mid blade on each side. at regular intervals are four leather straps that are tied around the back of the khopesh.
 
Jul 2018
25
Colorado
#20
I think it's in Yadin's "Art of..". My Egypt books are packed away.
It shows warriors carrying khopeshes over their shoulders and the outlines of a covering probably leather covers the sharp portion. it's a leather rectangle folded over the blade extendi g to mid blade on each side. at regular intervals are four leather straps that are tied around the back of the khopesh.
Thanks Todd! Appreciate the description. I can easily picture what you're describing. I'm glad you mentioned it because I've been ignorantly assuming they were carried in a scabbard like any other sword.
 
Likes: Todd Feinman

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