By Gregory P. Gilbert
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Additional resources for Ancient Egyptian sea power and the origin of maritime forces
Indeed, the word mesha for ‘army’, which often uses a hieroglyph of a kneeling bowman, could be interpreted as one of the bowmen who were used as marines onboard an Egyptian travelling or seagoing ship. In many instances mesha could be translated as ‘marines’. The title imy-r pedjty ‘captain of archers’ could be translated, from a maritime perspective, as ‘captain of marines’. 49 A number of nobles’ titles are clearly of a maritime nature, especially those using one or more hieroglyphs with a nautical origin.
You will not founder when you touch land, No flood will carry you away. You will not taste the river’s evils, You will not see a frightened face. Fish will come darting to you, Fatted fowl surround you. 64 24 A DEEP ER U N D E RS TA N D I N G O F MA RI T I ME E GYP T Once again order and stability are equated with good nautical abilities. The concept of joy and happiness is also intimately linked with nautical pursuits. The tale of King Sneferu’s boating party on the Papyrus Westcar, is one of the magical descriptions included in a later Middle Kingdom tale.
In a time when Egypt had no territorial state enemies, control of the Egyptian Nile involved much more than the defence of Egypt. The maritime operations on the Egyptian Nile may be divided into the following four categories: a. military operations at home against internal regional elites, warlords or chiefs b. military operations at home against external raider/traders and defence against invader/immigrants c. constabulary operations, mostly state building – but also border protection, peacekeeping and support to counterinsurgency d.