weapons

Dogs of War: Ancient History of Animals in Warfare

Man and beast have partnered for various reasons over tens of thousands of years—almost always for food or protection. The dirty history of animals in warfare is sometimes inspiring, sometimes disturbing, but without the aid of creatures in war, humanity would be in a different place than we are today.

The image of a mounted warrior succinctly captures the history of animals in war, but many animals, such as dogs, camels, elephants, pigs, oxen, dolphins, pigeons and more, have all served in various capacities and have played roles (for good or ill) in war and combat related...Read more

Fire and Sword: Ferocious and Deadly Thermal Weapons set the Ancient World Ablaze

One only had to witness cities devoured by flames, see fleets of ships sinking, their sails ablaze, or behold screaming victims doused in boiling pitch to know the deadly efficacy of ancient thermal weapons.

Warfare was brutal, but effective, in the ancient world, between conventional arms of sword, bow and shield, to the invisible but deadly poisons and biological weapons. But perhaps none were as instantly terrifying and widely destructive as thermal weaponry.

Early thermal weapons were used inventively in warfare during the classical and medieval periods (eighth century...Read more

A Tale of Pestilence: Did Egypt Wield a Secret Weapon against the Assyrians?

In 700 BCE, The Assyrian army commanded by King Sennacherib invaded Egypt.

Before the Assyrians pushed any further into Egypt, the Assyrian army made camp at Pelusium, which is located on the salt flats and flax fields of northeastern Egypt. It was to be an easy victory in Sennacherib’s eyes, for the enemy Pharaoh’s soldiers would not fight for him. The “warriors of the Egyptians refused to come to the rescue,” according to Greek historian Herodotus.

The reason for this is that Pharaoh Sethos of Egypt had distanced himself from the warrior class, holding them with great...Read more