One of the main distinguishing features of ancient Egypt was the innovation of weapons in the different periods of war. Some of them became an important part of dynasties, to the point that they were used as the emblem of the Egyptian gods themselves.
This is why the records of history, related to the weapons used by the dynastic pharaohsrefer to the enigmatic Khopesh Sword. It is a weapon that was originally used for several centuries by ancient warriors in the Middle East.
It is estimated that between the years 3000 to about 1300 BC, but which later acquired popularity among the dynasties of ancient Egypt. Thus, the Khopesh sword became the weapon that represented the pharaohs, as a sign of triumph over their adversaries.
Characteristics of the enigmatic Khopesh sword
Their its appearance was very similar to that of a sickle, as it had a curved blade as if it were a U. The edge was in the convex part, but the blunt side of the sword could also be used as a stick to strike the enemy during battles.
Due to its shape, some have used it like a hook to grab the arms and pull the shield out of the opponent’s hands. In addition, the handle provided excellent grip, which made it easier to grip and move when fighting. In fact, it was considered a very useful and practical weapon in close combat.
The khopesh became a common military weapon valued for its cutting ability in close combat. Credit: Dbachmann/Wikimedia Commons
Regarding its size, phates to reach about 50 to 60 centimeters in length, weighing about 2 pounds. Although some slightly smaller models were found, but with the same curved shape. Its main particularity was based on its ability to penetrate during the attack.
origins of weapons
History places the origin of this weapon in very remote times, the first traces of its existence date back to the third millennium BC.. According to archaeologists and historians, the Khopesh sword was originally used by the Canaanite Semitic populations, who inhabited the Near East.
Among the cities that used this enigmatic weapon, it is said the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel mentioned in the Old Testament, as well as shechem Yes Byblos. All are closely linked to territorial disputes with ancient Egypt.
It was precisely during these wars that Egyptian leaders added the Khopesh Sword to your arsenal of weapons.
The Khopesh, along with the chariot of war, became the most typical weapon of ancient Egypt. Credit: Medieval Weapons
Although khopesh is closely related to Egypt, it is not native there. The first forms of khopesh were invented in Mesopotamia at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC. One can appreciate the ‘stele of the vultures’, which dates from 2500 BC. C., where the Sumerian king is depicted Lagash Eanatum wielding what appears to be a sickle-shaped sword. This weapon could be a precursor to the khopesh.
However, it was under the orders of the pharaohs that some modifications were made to the Kopesh, especially in the material because they were made of iron bronze.
In a period that covered various Egyptian dynasties between the 16th and 11th centuries BC. AD, approx., was when the most significant changes were made. Of course, this meant hard work for Egyptian craftsmen, who went to great lengths to make the sword an effective and easy-to-use weapon.
An emblem of the Egyptian deities!
Relief of Ramses III at Medinet Habu, Thebes. The pharaoh uses the Khopesh sword. Credit: I Rémih – CC BY-SA 3.0
More than what the use of this enigmatic weapon could represent in wars, there is what it meant for the culture of ancient Egypt. For instance, in the hands of the pharaohs, it became the symbol of a weapon with magical powerss, a powerful reason to connect it with the most important deities.
On the other hand, there is also a relationship between the weapon and ancient Egyptian astronomy and mythology. According to hieroglyphics, it is because the ancient cosmic God Mesechtiu, it occurred in the constellation Ursa Major (Khopesh). This is where his divinity would come from.
Similarly, there are often representations of the god Anubis wearing a Kopesh. Symbols with khopesh swords have even been discovered in royal tombs, including with Tutankhamun.
It ceases to be used in 1300 BC.
Everything seems to indicate that Until the year 1300 BC. AD, the Khopesh Sword on a large scale in ancient Egypt. However, there is archaeological evidence indicating that various nomadic Bedouin tribes used them during the 19th Dynasty.
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Undoubtedly, the contribution of Egyptian culture has been of great value in the field of the art of battles. so many the chariot of war, like the use of horses and this emblematic weapon of the pharaohs, have been widely used for centuries. Then it would give way to other forms of swords or sabers that were also used by the various peoples of the Middle East.
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