Weakness of the ancient Egyptian Army

Aug 2018
274
America
Should be pointed out that Egypt wasn't really fully conquered until the Roman period. The Persians were only able to rule Egypt for a century and a half before Egyptians broke free again and had to be re-subjugated, a period that lasted very little as Alexander would then conquer Egypt from Persia. Then after Alexander's death, Egypt would again become independent with its own indigenous culture, even if now ruled by a Greek class that didn't just practice the Egyptian religion but also mixed it with their own Hellenic cults. It wasn't until the Roman conquest that Egypt finally loses its independence permanently for the next 1,000 years or so, passing from Roman to Palmyrene to Sassanid to finally Arab hands, until the Fatimids returned independence to Egypt once more. In other words, even with the Hyksos, Nubian, Assyrian and Greco-Persian periods, which together only form around 400 years at most, Egypt was independent for 3,000 years. Only about 15% of that time period was Egypt ruled by foreigners. That's very impressive.

As for why Egypt didn't form a bigger empire, it's for the same reason why Asian empires failed to go deeper into Africa until the Arabs and that's geography (even the Arabs would take centuries to finally get to any significantly deep portion of Africa). Geography impeded foreign invasions as much as Egyptian invasions of other places. Meanwhile, the Asian steppe facilitated the creation of big empires. That's why I consider the Persian Empire somewhat overrated. It was big for its time, sure, but then we have exaggerated claims like "it was a hyperpower!" and "it contained nearly half of the world's population!". It was and did neither of those things. At its peak, it ruled only 30% of the world's population at most, and that's exaggerating (in order for Persia to have so much of the world's population, you have to really underestimate the population of the rest of the world, including Africa, Europe, China, India, Central and Northern Asia and the Americas, even if Oceania has always been underpopulated and doesn't figure all that much), and I don't think a hyperpower that most people didn't even know about or only heard at second glance (for instance, the Persians are barely remembered in Indian history, Cyrus and Darius are less remembered than even Alexander) can be considered a "hyperpower" even if it was the biggest empire at that point in history (I mean, its most famous king, Cyrus, got killed by a population the West describes as "nomads", that puts into question the extent of such a supposed "hyperpower").

Finally, the problem with Egypt's army was that it became too focus on chariot warfare, and didn't realise the advantages of a more powerful infantry or horseback cavalry, and its lack of a proper navy. It's amazing how, even after the raids by the Sea Peoples and Achaeans that nearly caused the collapse of Egypt, the Egyptian military didn't adopt a better navy. The Egyptian army was a shadow of its former self by the time the Nubians conquered them thanks to said sea raids, and of course, the Romans permanently conquered Egypt with the sea battle of Actium.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
Terms like hyperpower or superpower aren't really applicable to any power before the 19th or 20th Century, even though they do get thrown around a lot for civilizations that existed long before then.

"A superpower is a state with a dominant position characterized by its extensive ability to exert influence or project power on a global scale. This is done through the combined-means of economic, military, technological and cultural strength as well as diplomatic and soft power influence. Traditionally, superpowers are preeminent among the great powers. "

Superpower - Wikipedia

"A hyperpower is a state that dominates all other states in every domain (i.e. military, culture, economy)[1] and is considered to be a step higher than a superpower. The term often refers to the United States of America due to its status as the world's only current superpower; however, its possible status above that remains a topic of dispute.[2]

History[edit]
The British journalist Peregrine Worsthorne coined the term in a Sunday Telegraph article published March 3, 1991.[3] After the end of the Cold War with the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, some political commentators felt that a new term was needed to describe the United States' position (Pax Americana) as the lone superpower.[4][5][6] French foreign minister Hubert Védrine popularized the term in 1998, because from France's position, the United States looked like a hyperpower, although the validity of classifying the United States in this way was disputed."

Hyperpower - Wikipedia

Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Macedon, Rome, Han China, ect were all regional great powers. None meets the criteria to be accurately called a superpower, let alone a hyperpower. At best there have been only three superpowers in human history, the British Empire, the United States, and the Soviet Union. China will likely become the fourth this century.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Todd Feinman
Aug 2018
274
America
Terms like hyperpower or superpower aren't really applicable to any power before the 19th or 20th Century, even though they do get thrown around a lot for civilizations that existed long before then.

"A superpower is a state with a dominant position characterized by its extensive ability to exert influence or project power on a global scale. This is done through the combined-means of economic, military, technological and cultural strength as well as diplomatic and soft power influence. Traditionally, superpowers are preeminent among the great powers. "

Superpower - Wikipedia

"A hyperpower is a state that dominates all other states in every domain (i.e. military, culture, economy)[1] and is considered to be a step higher than a superpower. The term often refers to the United States of America due to its status as the world's only current superpower; however, its possible status above that remains a topic of dispute.[2]

History[edit]
The British journalist Peregrine Worsthorne coined the term in a Sunday Telegraph article published March 3, 1991.[3] After the end of the Cold War with the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, some political commentators felt that a new term was needed to describe the United States' position (Pax Americana) as the lone superpower.[4][5][6] French foreign minister Hubert Védrine popularized the term in 1998, because from France's position, the United States looked like a hyperpower, although the validity of classifying the United States in this way was disputed."

Hyperpower - Wikipedia

Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Macedon, Rome, Han China, ect were all regional great powers. None meets the criteria to be accurately called a superpower, let alone a hyperpower. At best there have been only three superpowers in human history, the British Empire, the United States, and the Soviet Union. China will likely become the fourth this century.
Amy Chua and Tom Holland (the writer, not the actor) do so. I agree that it is very dumb to apply that term to pre-modern societies, especially ancient ones, but that hasn't stopped certain "historians" from applying it to the ancient Persians.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scaeva