Egyptian Navy

  • Ancient Egypt
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Ancient Egypt were people dependent on the River Nile for life. It's agriculture was fed by the nutrients rich Nile floods on it's plains. The Nile also served as a means of travel which helped to Unite both Upper and Lower Egypt into a powerful Kingdom. Ancient Egyptian Military Commanders saw the need to control and Master The Nile River as well. Ships for War were quickly developed to exploit that need. Ship building soon flourished. Egypt as a Naval Force too flourished with it's zenith at 1,200 BC. Warships were constructed of wood and were both Sail and Oar (or human powered). Byblos was a noted producer of Warships. The Ship building community launched the "first" Egyptian Navy. "Byblos Ships" were known as "Knbt" in the Ancient Egyptian language. 


They were on average between 50 to 70 feet long and required 18 men to row. The single Mainmast Sail had even simpler rope rigging. The Rudder was 25 to 35 feet long, controlled by a Tiller. "Kbnt" were not built for comfort. A single structure was built on the Main Deck for The Commander. All other Troops slept below Decks in a single level area, around 10-feet high. Ship hulls were pitched inside to provide a type of water-tight seal.


"Knbt" were used much different than later Warships. A complement of 50 men on each Ship, gave as stated - 18 men as Rowers, with the rest serving as Archers and Spearman. The use of fire as an enhancement for ranged weapon was known, but used sparingly (lest a fire be accidentally started on their Ship as well). The basic tactic was to "grapple the Ship with that of the enemy vessel, pulling it closer for attack or boarding. Another accepted tactic was to try and capsize an enemy Ship this way.


Pelting an enemy at close range with Arrow and Spear was also a often used tactic. Later, with the addition of The Ram, this too was used. Much different than later Rams, a reinforced double-wooden Prow was placed at the front of the Warship. Later, Copper "heads" were installed to "punch" through an enemy hull.


In cases of Land Battles, large Transport Vessels were constructed. These were called "Nmiv". These wooden ships could reach up to 80-feet in length, and featured little to no Deck structures. Maximum space was reserved for transporting as many as 60 soldiers per Ship. They did not serve as Rowers. Featuring a Mainmast, "Nmiv" were the largest of Naval Ships.


After Egypt's eventual capture by Rome and incorporation into a Provence, traditional Trieme and Brieme-Class Ships replaced The Ancient Egyptian Naval Forces.