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Wall Painting from the Dynasty XII tomb of Baqt III at Beni Hasan (BH15) depicting caning and other forms of corporal punishment. Discipline in the Egyptian army, like any other state army in history, was strict. For minor offences, the culprit was beaten across the back by one man. (AKG-imagesl Franc;ois Guenet)

Scene of siege warfare during the civil wars of the late First Intermediate Period, tomb of Khety, a nomarch of the Oryx nome, at Beni Hasan (BH 17). The transfer of power to local rulers like Khety led to the rise of private armies. (Reproduced from P. E. Newberry, Ben; Hasan I)


available for conscription. Many of those levied were not likely to have had prior military experience. Once the recruit reached the barracks, his name was listed and his head was shaved. It is possible that the peasant conscript was subject to some form of initiation ritual common in military life throughout the centuries and in all cultures with an organized body of men under arms, although any direct proof of this is lacking. It is also likely that the soldiers swore a formal oath of allegiance to the ruling pharaoh. Physical fitness was of great importance because most of the time soldiers would have marched to battle, carrying the bulk of their rations with them, along with all their personal equipment. This would include their principal weapons, battleaxe and shield, bow and arrows. New recruits, therefore, would have experienced a harsh combination of physical exertion and exercise together with the physical

Osprey warrior 121 soldier of the pharaoh  
Osprey warrior 121 soldier of the pharaoh