Historical Background About the Battle of Pelusium

History is filled with many battles that changed the course of history, one of this battles is the battle of Pelusium which was between ancient Egypt empire led by “Pharaoh Psametik III” (526-525 BCE) and the Achaemenid Empire(the First Persian Empire) led by “Cambyses II” (525-522 BCE) due to the idiotic and aggravating actions of “Pharaoh Amasis II” the father of Psametik III.

The battle of Pelusium played a key role in shaping the future of the kingdom as the throne of the pharaohs was transferred to Cambyses II of Persia. This battle was won by the Persian army, using his knowledge of the Egyptian culture and a very unusual strategy as he used cats as hostages.

Battle of Pelusium Reasons

One of the main reason for the battle is when king Cambyses asked Amasis’S daughter for marriage, he didn’t want to lose his daughter to a Persian who was considered to be less in stature of an Egyptians even if he was a king so instead, he sends another girl named “Nitetis” to take her place and pretended to be his daughter and the future wife of Cambyses but when she stood in front of him, she explained Asami’s wickedness and trickery and Cambyses vowed to avenge his insult.

The Catastrophic Diplomatic Relations of Amasia II

The bitterness of Amasia II towards “Phanes of Halicarnassus“a wise councilman, mercenary and tactician and one of the most respected and revered men in the military and royal community of Egypt for an unknown reason, led “Phanes” to become his worst enemy as he escaped to Persia and assisted the Persian king’s army in their conquest in all manners of strategy and tactics and was the true mastermind in the defeat of Egypt, which he told him about the Egyptian religions in this time and King Cambyses used this important information in the war to defeat the Egyptians.

Amasia II had a bad habit of gaining enemies and forming a bad relationship with his neighbors like the king of Arabia who granted safe passage to the Cambyses army and supplied him with troops which facilitated the entire destruction of the Egyptian empire.

Amasis died six months before Cambyses reached Egypt which left his son “Psamtik” who hoped to save his country, entirely depended on his army and his limited military experience as all of Egypt’s allies like the Greek forces, the grand fleet of Polycrates of Samos and Egypt’s most prominent tactical advisor phanes of Halicarnassus, switched to the other side of the Persian.

The Genius Strategy of the Persian Army to Win the Battle

The battle of Pelusium was an extremely special battle because it was an early form of Psychological warfare as told by Herodotus (a Greek historian). The Persians had a genius tactic to use the Egyptians religious belief against them, the Persians put cats in front of them as they attacked, the Egyptians didn’t dare to shoot an arrow or even attack in any form so they wouldn’t hurt the cats.

This strategy was based on the idea that ancient Egyptian worshiped the goddess Bastet (the cat goddess of beauty, protection, the home, fertility), during this period, Bastet was the most powerful and honored goddess in Egypt, and because of that casts were protect and highly respected as the punishment for killing a cat was the death sentence and absolute damnation in the afterlife and that’s why the Egyptian lost the city of Pelusium. The Egyptians lost fifty thousand men while the Persians only lost seven thousand men, then the Egyptian retreated to the city of Memphis. Cambyses took his troops to Memphis and was able to defeat the remaining army which made Psamtik surrender the city and live under the watch of the Persian emperor but he was later executed when he attempting a revolt against the Persian Empire.

The Aftermath of the Battle

The Persian would rule Egypt as an autonomous nation following the Persian rule for about two hundred years during the 27th and 31st dynasties until the arrival of Alexander the Great’s armies and conquer the land in 331 BCE and ruled by a Greek monarchy until annexed by the Roman kingdom in 30BCE.

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