The native "war" pertains to English indigenous the old High German language word Werran (to confuse or to cause confusion) through the Old English Werre (meaning the same), and also is a state the open and usually declared equipped conflict in between political entities such as sovereign states or in between rival politics or social factions in ~ the exact same state.

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The Prussian army analyst Carl Von Clausewitz, in his publication On War, phone call it, “continuation the politics carried on by various other means.” battle is waged by political entities, nations or, earlier, city states in order to settle political or ar disputes and also are carried out ~ above the battlefield by armies comprised of soldiers that the completing nations or by mercenaries payment by a federal government to wage battle.

War & the increase of Nations

Throughout history, individuals, states, or political factions have gained sovereignty over regions through the usage of war. The background of one of the earliest worlds in the world, the of Mesopotamia, is a chronicle the nearly consistent strife. Also after Sargon the great of Akkad (r. 2334-2279 BCE) linked the region under the Akkadian Empire, war was tho waged in placing down rebellions or fending off invaders. The at an early stage Dynastic period of Egypt (c. 3150-c. 2613 BCE) is thought to have actually risen from war once the Pharaoh Manes (or Menes) of the south dominated the region of north Egypt (though this case is disputed).

In China, the Zhou dynasty gained ascendancy through fight in 1046 BCE and the problem of the Warring States period ((476-221 BCE) to be resolved as soon as the State of Qin defeated the other competing states in battle and also unified China under the dominion of emperor Shi Huangdi (r. 221-210 BCE). This very same pattern holds because that other countries throughout time even if it is one cites the success of Scipio Africanus (l. 236-183 BCE) in the defeat of Carthage (and so the dominance of Rome) or that of Philip II the Macedon (l.382-336 BCE) in uniting the city-states of Greece. Contending armies of the contrary nations have actually historically resolved political disputes on the battlefield also though, in time, these armies adjusted in formation and also size.

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Armies & their Development

Armies had two varieties of infantry: Shock Troops, whose objective was to close with the opposing pressures and shot to break their lines, and also Peltasts that were an ext mobile and moved in a looser formation in order to fire long-range tools at the enemy. According to the historian Simon Anglim,, "Infantry is the backbone of any army, being the one unit that can strike or safeguard equally effectively. The majority of battles have actually turned ~ above the infantry"s ability to close with the enemy and kill him" (7) and also this stop true, in most cases, even after the advent of mounties units and the battle chariot.

The earliest armies were reasonably small corps of shock troops till the arrival of peltast units. In ~ the battle of Megiddo in 1479 BCE the Egyptian army numbered 20,000; by the time Shalmaneser III ruled over the Assyrian empire in 845 BCE militaries had grown in mass and also size. Shalmaneser"s forces in his projects numbered end 120,000. The Assyrians required huge armies fan to their plan of ar expansion and ruthless suppression of revolt against central rule and, in this, castle epitomize the underlying cause of war: the people mentality.

The people Mentality & War

War grows naturally out the the tribe mentality. Anglim,, notes:

A people is a culture tracing its origin ago to a solitary ancestor, who might be a actual person, a mythical hero, or even a god: they commonly view outsiders together dangerous and conflict versus them together normal. The possession of irreversible territories to defend or conquer lugged the require for large-scale fight in which the losing military would it is in destroyed, the better to secure the discussed territory. The resulting `civilization" as such brought the require for arranged bodies that shock troops. (8)

The people mentality always results in a dichotomy of one `us" vs. A `them" and engenders a latent fear of the `other" whose culture is at odds with, or in ~ least different from, one"s own. This fear, coupled through a desire come expand, or protect, crucial resources, frequently results in war.

The an initial war in recorded history took location in Mesopotamia in c. 2700 BCE between Sumer and Elam. The Sumerians, under command of the King of Kish, Enembaragesi, defeated the Elamites in this war and, it is recorded, “carried away as spoils the weapons of Elam.” At around the very same time together this campaign, King Gilgamesh that Uruk marched ~ above his neighbors in order to procure cedar for building and construction of a temple. If it has actually been argued that Gilgamesh is a mythological character, the archaeological evidence the the historic King Enembaragesi, that is mentioned in The epos of Gilgamesh, lends weight to the insurance claim that the latter was likewise a real historic figure. The region of Sumer traditionally looked top top Elam as `the other" come the allude where, in the Ur III duration of Sumer"s background (2047-1750 BCE) King Shulgi that Ur (r. 2029-1982 BCE) created a an excellent wall to keep the Elamites and Amorites at bay.


Early warfare & army Tactics

Warfare certainly did not start in 2700 BCE, however. The earliest pictographs of militaries at war come from the kingdom of Kish, dated to about 3500 BCE. Jericho, which, in addition to Uruk, has a case to the title of the world"s earliest city, has listed archaeologists with solid evidence that a strengthened city was standing on the site prior to 7000 BCE. The walls of the fortress were 10 feet (3 metres) thick and also 13 feet (3.9 metres) high surrounded by a moat 30 feet (9.1 metres) broad and 10 feet (3 metres) deep, strongly arguing the prominence of defense.

The simple bow was in use in Mesopotamia as early as 10,000 BCE and cemeteries from north Mesopotamia to Egypt attest to at an early stage warfare ~ above a fairly far-ranging scale. Evidence from a conflict which took ar at Jebel Sahaba, Egypt, at the so-called site 117, 59 skeletons to be uncovered, every one of whom show clear evidence of violent fatality at about the exact same time. War in old Mesopotamia was waged through infantry shock troops until the introduction of the composite bow indigenous Egypt.

By 1782 BCE, reduced Egypt had actually been largely taken through the Hyksos, a Semitic civilization of unknown origin, who introduced superior technical advances into Egypt. Along with the battle chariot, copper weapons, and brand-new tactics, the Hyksos carried the development of the composite bow. Prior to the resulting the Hyksos, the Egyptian army had provided "simple bows of timber or cane with a range of around 33 feet (100 metres) when the composite bow to be "capable of moving a mighty blow out to 656 feet (200 metres)" (Anglim, 10). The advance of the composite bow would change the means in which battle was waged in that shock troops who were massed very closely together made basic targets for archers while looser formations invited decimation by the contrary shock troops. This led to transforms in fight formations generally and also the development of military tactics.


Military Formations & Technology

The earliest development was the phalanx i beg your pardon was first employed in Sumer c. 3000 BCE and also would end up being the conventional for infantry formations for thousands of years. It to be made renowned at the battle of Marathon in 490 BCE when the Greeks work it successfully to rout the Persians, was perfected by Alexander the great c. 332 BCE ~ above his campaigns, and also was made much more formidable through the militaries of Rome. The phalanx to be employed, in one form or another, by many of the fighting forces in the ancient world. The Greeks employed mounties to protect the flanks and the Thebans used a mix of cavalry, infantry, and also peltasts. The introduction of the war chariot and, later, the usage of elephants in battle, supplemented the duty of the infantry but never diminished their importance.War has been critical factor in developing states and also empires throughout background and, same so, in ruining them. Major advances in science, technology, and also engineering have been brought around through necessity throughout times the war. That is written that the military of King Croesus that Lydia (r. 560-547 BCE) was when stopped in their advancement by the Halys flow which seemed difficult to cross. The philosopher Thales of Miletus, a member that Croesus" army, had a crew of engineers dig a channel upstream, giving it a crescent shape, “so that it should circulation round the back of whereby the army was encamped, being diverted in this way from that old course and passing the camp, should circulation into the old course as soon as more" (Kaufmann, 9). As soon as the river was make shallow in both networks it was, of course, straightforward to cross.

Stories such together this administer examples the the prominence of designers in the exercise of war. The increasing development of army tactics or, in this case, geography obstacles, necessitated a corps of engineers as a regular part of any kind of army. The armies of Alexander the an excellent and of Rome are renowned for their use of designers in warfare most notably through Alexander in ~ the Siege of tire (332 BCE) and also by Julius Caesar at the Siege that Alesia (52 BCE). Both of these generals take it full advantage of every source at your disposal to crush their enemy and advance their cause and also engineers, along with technological advances such as the siege tower, became a particularly important means to achieving those ends.


With advances in technology, war has actually increasingly wreaked chaos and also destruction top top the lives and also cities that combatants and also non-combatants and, true come the beginnings of the name, has sown man throughout time. The an initial armed dispute in history recorded by eyewitnesses was the fight of Megiddo in 1479 BCE between Thutmose III (r. 1458-1425 BCE) that Egypt and an alliance of previous Egyptian regions under the management of the King that Kadesh.

The Hebrew surname for Megiddo is `Armageddon" famous from the biblical book of Revelation as the site of the final fight between an excellent and evil and also has come to be supplied as a general term because that a dramatic case involving the end of the world. If one regards the predictions of Revelation as reliable then, as the chronicler Davis notes, "The foundation for one of the great ironies of history is hence foretold: the beginning and also the finish of military background occur in ~ the same site" (5). Yet that may be, war continues as a usual extension that political disputes in modern-day times and, as people never radically change in disposition, will proceed be employed later on as that has been in the past; fueled and justified by the ages-old people mentality.

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A freelance writer and also former part-time Professor of ideology at Marist College, new York, Joshua J. Mark has lived in Greece and also Germany and also traveled v Egypt. He has actually taught history, writing, literature, and also philosophy in ~ the university level.