all have ancient warriors in our past, and to know their history is
to know ourselves. For better or worse, ancient military might has
shaped our modern world. Through these early struggles peoples, religions
and ideas were thrust into greatness and power or wiped from the face
of earth. Ancient weapon innovations, military organization and commanders
all played a critical roll in determining who controls our worlds
resources and wealth. To understand ancient military history is to
understand where history itself originated, and their for it is essential
in understanding mankind. Ancient Military explores the early history
of warfare for these reasons and because, although brutal, ancient
military history is above all else, extraordinarily interesting!
and historians hotly debate when man first ventured into the dark
realm of warfare. Our earliest ancestors certainly beat each other
to death in order to protect their hunting grounds and women, but
the question of when in man organized into military units and waged
war is much more complex.
know that ancient weapons suchs as simple spears and clubs came into common use shortly after
the dawn of man some three million years ago. Complex spears
were in use 400,000 years ago and that bows first appeared on the
scene around 60,000 years ago. However, cave paintings from this time period
only show hunting scenes. True organized warfare took the adaptation
of food production, hunter gather were simply to few to mount anything
more than raids. Only with food production could the population support
launching mass amounts of armed men into battle.
Not that earlier man didn't engage in some organized violence, 20,000
-12,000 year old cave paintings depict battles scenes in Spain.
Groups of archers fighting in rows with clearly garbed leaders in
front. The first prehistoric battle in the archaeological record
is on the Nile near the Egypt-Sudan border, although this claim
is contentious. The site known as Cemetery 117 it is dates from
approximately 13,140 to 14,340 years old. It contains 59 skeletons
along with many partial skeletons, many with arrowheads or spear
points embedded in them, indicating that they may have been the
battle casualties. On a 7,500 year old site called the Talheim
Death Pit, archaeologists believe a rival tribe was massacred. Approximately
34 people were bound and predominantly killed by a blow to the left
temple. The site in Germany is one of the earliest indications of
warfare in Neolithic Europe.
By the 4th millennium BC the agricultural
revolution had developed to the point where small cities developed
in Mesopotamia. Now the ball could get rolling. Military conquests
expanded city states into empires begin in the 3rd millennium BC.
Sargon I creating the first empire (Akkadian Empire) and pioneered
combined arms tactics using archers, donkey chariots and spear armed
infantry units. The Pharaoh Senusret I in the 20th century BC conquered
Nubia and placed it under Egyptian control. Babylonia and later
the brutally efficient Assyrians built empires in Mesopotamia. While
the Hittite Empire ruled much of Anatolia and the Pharaohs ruled
the Nile delta. Chariots first appeared on the Eurasian steppes
in the 20th century BC, and become central to warfare in the ancient
Near East after massive invasions of Chariot using tribes slammed
into the settled river valley civilizations. The Aryan, Kassite
and Hyksos conquered and ruled the once proud civilizations. The
Hyksos took control of the Nile Delta, ruling for several hundred
years until the ancient Egyptian military, lead by a Prince who still ruled the middle section
of the Nile Valley defeated them using their own Chariot tactics
The arms race was well on its way...
and so was ancient military history.