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9 ancient Egyptian tools and weapons used by the pharaoh’s army

During the time of the New Kingdom, from 1550 B.C. Egypt had one of the best and scariest armies in the world between 1500 and 1070 B.C. Even though they used other kingdoms’ technology, they were still the most powerful. Before that, they used weapons made of stone, like arrows, axes, and spears with wooden tips.

Wooden figures of the Egyptian army of the 11th Dynasty found in the tomb of Mesehti. © Wikimedia Commons

Before the Second Intermediate Period, the Egyptians studied their enemy to make the best weapons. It was the new kingdom’s first Pharaoh. At that time, Egypt made improvements to its weapons. They also learned about how to grow their kingdoms. Here are some of the strongest weapons they have ever used.

Bronze-Pointed Spear and Shield

Egyptian bronze spear from Banha, 2nd millennium BC
Egyptian bronze spear from Banha, 2nd millennium BC, National Archaeological Museum (France). © Wikimedia Commons

Spearmen were used by the Egyptians in the front row of their army. Each had a bronze-tipped spear in one hand and a wooden guard in the other hand. Over time, their weapons got better. The fact that those spears were long seemed to be a plus. The shield also kept them safe from the weapons of their enemy.

The tip of the bronze was sharp, and because it was hard, it could break through the opponent’s shield. Also, some weapons were made of metal, and bronze was added to the tip. The kingdom ensured that everyone on the security team going to war was safe. Before they learned how to make bronze, most of their weapons were made of wood. They took what the Syrians knew and used it.


Javelin shaft
Javelin shaft ca. 1479–1458 B.C. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

They looked like short spears. A meter in length. Soldiers carried weapons, which looked just like arrows, and were carried on their shoulders. With the weapon, enemies behind the shield could be trusted. It wasn’t shot away like an arrow. Their weapons had poisonous blades in the shape of diamonds. At the back, it was made of light wood so the person using it would have plenty of time to kill their enemies.

Battle Axe

Battle Ax of Baki
Battle Ax of Baki © Wikimedia Commons

Warriors wore it around their shoulders or waists as a second weapon. It was important when the enemy got hurt, and the Egyptians wanted him dead. A soldier had to remove the battle axe and cut the body into pieces. Most of the time, the semi-circular blades were used against enemies who didn’t have any armor. When the Egyptians confronted Syrians and Hittites with armor, the width got smaller. The design was made so that it could go through armor meant to protect the chest.


Egyptian Mace-Ax © Wikimedia Commons

It’s one of the oldest weapons that has ever been made. Archaeologists think that the mace-journey axes began around 6000 BC. The Egyptians’ mace-ace was made of wood and had a heavy stone at the front. During the New Kingdom, they added a blade to the front of the spear over time. The Egyptian soldiers only had to hit their opponents’ swords twice to break them. Even weapons made of hard bronze could be broken by it.

Short Swords

Egyptian short sword © Wikimedia Commons

Hykos was the one who brought bronze technology to the world. Before, Egyptians made swords that were short but strong. Some soldiers had small, strong swords made of solid stones for the blade, hilt, and grip. First, they made a dagger but switched to making other sharp things as time passed.

It was a strong weapon for stabbing an enemy. They also made swords that were longer and flatter. This was used when they wanted to hurt an enemy without getting hurt themselves. Even when hit with a bronze sword, it was hard to bend.


A New Kingdom khopesh
A New Kingdom khopesh © Wikimedia Commons

When other kingdoms thought of Egypt, Khopesh was the weapon they feared most. The shape of the weapon was just like a question mark. The edge looked just like the blade of a scimitar. In ancient Egypt, the word khopesh meant the front leg of an animal. Tutankhamun was the son of a king, and he was buried with two khopesh as a sign of respect. The objects cut the enemy to death as a last resort.

Composite Bow

Composite Bow with Forty Arrow
Composite Bow with Forty Arrow © Wikimedia Commons

The Egyptians learned about this from the Syrians. They made a strong composite bow by combining animal horns, layers of wood, and sinew. In the end, a strong weapon was made. It was a superweapon they had. The bow was 1.5 meters long. Animal glue was used to hold the items together. It could snap back before going straight to the enemy’s projected point. It could go up to 250 to 300 meters. There were three more feathers added to make the arrow more accurate.


Ramses II triumphant on an Egyptian chariot
Ramses II triumphant on an Egyptian chariot © Wikimedia Commons

This was a way to get around that was much faster than horses. The leather floors of the light wooden chariots helped to absorb shocks. A lot of armed chariots were put on the battlefield by the New Kingdom. As soldiers shot arrows at their enemies from the chariot, it went around the battlefield.

Scale Armor

Scale Armor8th–3rd century B.C.
Scale Armor 8th–3rd century B.C. © Wikimedia Commons

The only people who had full protection were charioteers. Those were the same soldiers who could shoot over their enemies with long composite bows. The charioteers wore long bronze scale coats. They looked like lizard people standing up straight. When the horse era started, the horse also had its armor.