The Battle of Pelusium (The End of the Egyptian Conquests)

The battle of Pelusium 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) and played an important part 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.

The battle of Pelusium started due to the idiotic and aggravating actions of “Pharaoh Amasis II” the father of Psametik III.

First, when king Cambyses asked Amasis’S daughter for marriage, he didn’t want to lose his daughter to a Persian so instead he send another girl named “Nitetis” to take her place as 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.

Secondly, his bitterness towards “Phanes of Halicarnassus” (a wise councilman, mercenary and tactician) for unknown reason, led “Phanes” to become his worst his enemy as he escaped to Persia and assisted the 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 the King Cambyses used this important information in the war.

Thirdly, his habit of gaining enemy and forming a bad relationship with his neighbors like the king of Arabia who granted safe passage to Cambyses army and supplied him with troops which facilitated in the 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 side to the Persian.

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 Persian had a genius tactic to use their religious belief against them, the Persian 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, honored goddess in Egypt, and because of that casts were protect and highly regarded as the punishment for killing a cat was the death sentence and absolute damnation in the afterlife and that’s way the Egyptian lost the city of Pelusium. The Egyptians lost fifty thousand men while the Persians only lost seven thousand men, who were still alive from 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 Persian would rule Egypt as an autonomous nation following the Persian rule for about two hundred years during the 27th and 31th dynasties until the arrival of Alexander the Great’s armies and conquer the land in 331BCE and ruled by a Greek monarchy until annexed by the Roman kingdom in 30BCE.

Egypt “The Cradle of Human Civilization” rich by the ancient history, culture, mythology, so you can make the dream true by casting your eyes on the ancient temples and tombs in Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, and all Egypt destination, we have well organized unforgettable Egypt Nile cruises to enjoy the best trip to Egypt ever.