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How did the Pharaohs of the Saite Period deploy and use Greek mercenaries? What evidence is available?

of: Michael Gärtner

GRIN Publishing, 2003

ISBN: 9783638194983 , 15 Pages

Format: PDF

Copy protection: DRM

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How did the Pharaohs of the Saite Period deploy and use Greek mercenaries? What evidence is available?


Essay from the year 2003 in the subject History - World History - Early and Ancient History, grade: 66 %, University of Wales, Aberystwyth (Department of Classics), 49 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Early Saite Pharaohs possibly employed Greek mercenaries, but there is no validated confirmation1 of this. Moreover, in the 26th dynasty, Egypt entered a period of unquestionable artistic brilliance and prosperity and became a powerful state. The primary resource for this period is Herodotus, Book Two. There is no evidence that a link between Egypt and Greece existed, but it is a possibility which might go back to the 'Mycenaean period'2or even the 'third millennium BC'3. If there was a link it broke down and became non-existent or even became hostile4 in the 'Dark Ages'5. Apart from those early contacts, the first time we hear of Greeks, especially as mercenaries in Egypt, is under Psammetichos I, when 'Greeks had access to the country'6. Traders followed the mercenaries and commerce between the Greek and Egyptian worlds which prospered once again. Before the Peloponnesian War, the Greek cities had no significant skill in extended7 campaigns or distant expeditions. Their fighting consisted of mainly small struggles on a medium to small scale. In any battle citizens might be called in to fight according to their standing in their city as cavalry, infantry or skirmishers. So, nearly everybody was familiar with warfare but only some of those who chose to develop into experts became mercenaries. Generally, these mercenary activities were accepted as sources 'of profits and were practised for that reason'8. These soldiers barely existed aside from in foreign armies. In the Greek tradition, the Carians were seen as the first9 mercenaries, 'who originated wearing crests on their helmets and devices on their shields, and who first made grips for their shields'10. [...] 1 Sullivan, p. 177. 2 Chamoux, p. 87, Sullivan, p. 185 and MacGillivray, p. 81 ff. 3 Cartledge, p. 48. 4 Sullivan, p. 185. 5 Chamoux, p. 87. 6 Chamoux, p. 87. 7 Sage, p. 19 f. 8 Sage, p. xi. 9 Griffith, p. 236. 10 Hdt., I.171.